Special Issue "Ciliates as Model Organisms: From ‘omics’ to Genetics, Ecology and Signaling"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.
Interests: cell biology; protistology; genomics
Interests: zoology; cell biology; protistology
Ciliates represent a group of unicellular eukaryotes widespread in nature, living in aquatic habitats, in soil, and as symbionts of animals. They are adapted to different conditions; from very cold to hot temperatures, and from clean to polluted environments, and possess complex molecular systems for many processes such as ciliary beating, for self-/non-self-recognition, sexual phenomena, and predator–prey interactions. To effect these processes, ciliates are able to manage different signals which can be classified in three categories: (i) intercellular signals produced by other cells/organisms; (ii) environmental signals not produced by other organisms; and (iii) intracellular signals produced inside the cell body.
Ciliates are nuclear dimorphic, with two types of genome in a common cytoplasm. The diploid small germline micronucleus (MIC) is mostly transcriptionally silent and the repository of genetic information. The polyploid large somatic macronucleus (MAC) is responsible for gene transcription during cell growth. In the last 15 years, MAC genomes of many species have been investigated and disclosed, and the MIC genomes of a selected group of species are also under investigation. Comparative genomics, together with the analysis of transcriptomic and proteomic data, provides essential information to understand genetics, cell biology, and ecology of ciliates. Unraveling signaling systems in ciliates can provide important knowledge for understanding similar systems in other eukaryotes, including multicellular organisms. For example, ciliates are very useful biological models to study processes such as the evolution of calcium signaling. In addition, the hippo-signaling pathway, known to control the size of organs in animals, has been demonstrated to control cell polarity in ciliates and to specify the relative dimensions of the anterior and posterior daughter cells during division. Protein pheromones, which control self-/non-self-recognition and mating in ciliates, are considered the evolutionary precursors of animal growth factors.
This Special Issue is open to reporting all studies on ciliates as model organisms, seeking to understand their genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, evolution, ecological adaptation, and the complex mechanisms of signaling systems, from the genes involved to the changes in gene expression during cell response, and from the structure and involved evolution of signal molecules to the membrane traffic in the cells.
We look forward to receiving your contributions.
Prof. Dr. Cristina Miceli
Prof. Dr. Adriana Vallesi
Dr. Ronald Edward Pearlman
Manuscript Submission Information
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