Brittany A. Leigh

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It is now widely understood that all animals engage in complex interactions with bacteria (or microbes) throughout their various life stages. This ancient exchange can involve cooperation and has resulted in a wide range of evolved host-microbial interdependencies, including those observed in the gut. Ciona intestinalis, a filter-feeding basal chordate and(More)
Microbes associate with animal hosts, often providing shelter in a nutrient-rich environment. The gut, however, can be a harsh environment with members of the microbiome settling in distinct niches resulting in more stable, adherent biofilms. These diverse communities can provide orders of magnitude more gene products than the host genome; selection and(More)
A variety of germline and somatic immune mechanisms have evolved in vertebrate and invertebrate species to detect a wide array of pathogenic invaders. The gut is a particularly significant site in terms of distinguishing pathogens from potentially beneficial microbes. Ciona intestinalis, a filter-feeding marine protochordate that is ancestral to the(More)
Protochordate variable region-containing chitin-binding proteins (VCBPs) consist of immunoglobulin-type V domains and a chitin-binding domain (CBD). VCBP V domains facilitate phagocytosis of bacteria by granulocytic amoebocytes; the function of the CBD is not understood. Here we show that the gut mucosa of Ciona intestinalis contains an extensive matrix of(More)
Outnumbering all other biological entities on earth, bacteriophages (phages) play critical roles in structuring microbial communities through bacterial infection and subsequent lysis, as well as through horizontal gene transfer. While numerous studies have examined the effects of phages on free-living bacterial cells, much less is known regarding the role(More)
Anthropogenic effects can alter the natural life history strategies of individuals to determine mates based on honest ornamental signals making evolved behavior maladaptive. For example, in comparison with natural habitats, some urban areas might be more abundant in carotenoid-rich vegetation that determines the coloration of birds during a major life(More)
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