René Augustin

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The freshwater cnidarian Hydra was first described in 1702 and has been the object of study for 300 years. Experimental studies of Hydra between 1736 and 1744 culminated in the discovery of asexual reproduction of an animal by budding, the first description of regeneration in an animal, and successful transplantation of tissue between animals. Today, Hydra(More)
Comparative genome analyses indicate that every taxonomic group so far studied contains 10-20% of genes that lack recognizable homologs in other species. Do such 'orphan' or 'taxonomically-restricted' genes comprise spurious, non-functional ORFs, or does their presence reflect important evolutionary processes? Recent studies in basal metazoans such as(More)
Hydramacin-1 is a novel antimicrobial protein recently discovered during investigations of the epithelial defense of the ancient metazoan Hydra. The amino acid sequence of hydramacin-1 shows no sequence homology to any known antimicrobial proteins. Determination of the solution structure revealed that hydramacin-1 possesses a disulfide bridge-stabilized(More)
Although many properties of the innate immune system are shared among multicellular animals, the evolutionary origin remains poorly understood. Here we characterize the innate immune system in Hydra, one of the simplest multicellular animals known. In the complete absence of both protective mechanical barriers and mobile phagocytes, Hydra's epithelium is(More)
In the absence of migratory phagocytic cells the basal metazoan Hydra has developed a very effective immune system. Previous work has shown that epithelial cells, both in the ectoderm and endoderm, recognize PAMPs by TLR and produce a number of antimicrobial peptides. In this study we demonstrate that not only epithelial cells but also gland cells are(More)
In vertebrate development the Dickkopf protein family carries out multiple functions and is represented by at least four different genes with distinct biological activities. In invertebrates such as Drosophila and Caenorhabditis, Dickkopf genes have so far not been identified. Here we describe the identification and characterization of a Dickkopf gene with(More)
The emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria highlights the need for new antibacterial agents. Arminin 1a is a novel antimicrobial peptide discovered during investigations of the epithelial defense of the ancient metazoan Hydra. Following proteolytic processing, the 31-amino-acid-long positively charged C-terminal part of arminin 1a exhibits potent and(More)
In a retrospective study the overall survival time of 205 cystinotic patients of six countries was determined. The median survival time was 8.5 years. The median time for 'renal death' (age at death due to uraemia or age at starting renal replacement therapy) was 9.2 years. The youngest patient dying of renal death was 5.2 years. No sex difference in(More)
Members of the universal stress protein (USP) family were originally identified in stressed bacteria on the basis of a shared domain, which has since been reported in a phylogenetically diverse range of prokaryotes, fungi, protists, and plants. Although not previously characterized in metazoans, here we report that USP genes are distributed in animal(More)
Early embryos of many organisms develop outside the mother and are immediately confronted with myriads of potential colonizers. How these naive developmental stages control and shape the bacterial colonization is largely unknown. Here we show that early embryonic stages of the basal metazoan Hydra are able to control bacterial colonization by using maternal(More)