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Monday, 05 November 2018 17:57

There’s a Germ in my Worm: Bacterial-driven Metamorphosis with Nick Shikuma

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Nick Shikuma

Many organisms metamorphose from a larvae into an adult, for example a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly, but some animals require bacteria in order to undergo this transition. 

This amazing bacterial-stimulated morphological transition is fairly widespread among different marine animals, like sponges, corals, and sea urchins, but in most cases it is not understood. 

Dr. Nick Shikuma is an Assistant Professor at San Diego State University who studies the interaction of the bacterium Pseudoalteromonas luteoviolacea with the tubeworm Hydroides elegans.  

Dr. Shikuma talks about how the bacteria produce a harpoon-like factor called a tailicin that inject larvae with the correct stimulus to allow them to develop into tubeworms, how the tailicin is related to a bacterial virus injection device, what the benefit, if any, might be to the bacteria to do this, and whether these bacteria may be present at “Dog Poop Beach”.

The microCase for listeners to solve is about Rordon Gamsey, a famous foul-mouthed chef who comes down with a gastrointestinal illness while visiting a restaurant in need of his help.


  • Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Nick Shikuma, Ph.D. (San Diego State University)
  • Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Jesus Romo, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Mylea Echazarreta (UTSA)

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Last modified on Monday, 05 November 2018 18:16
Karl Klose

Karl Klose, Ph.D. is a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Texas San Antonio, the Director of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (STCEID), and host of microTalk. He oversees the research on infectious diseases that is carried out in his laboratory by undergraduate, Masters’, and Ph.D. students, as well as research staff. He also teaches microbiology to undergraduate and graduate students.

Karl is enthusiastic about enlightening people to the fascinating world of microbes.  He has given two TED talks on antibiotic resistance. He has been a visiting professor in Kolkata India and Valparaiso Chile.  He has spent the past two years visiting ASM branch meetings through the Distinguished Lecturer program.  You can find Karl on Twitter and you can find STCEID on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.