The PhD student Miguel Mejías Ortiz, with a degree in Biology from the University of Alicante and a Master in Chemistry and Biotechnology from the University of La Rioja has recently joined the MICROWINE research group at the ICVV, thanks to a pre-doctoral contract (PRE2020-093420), co-funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, the European Social Fund, and the CSIC, within the project PID2019-105159RB-I00.
This thesis project is part of a research line that seeks to develop knowledge on the interactions between starter cultures during the fermentation of grape must. In previous work, the research group has shown a transcriptional response of some yeasts to the presence in the same environment of yeasts of other species. These responses occurred after very short co-culture times, so the most plausible hypothesis is that it is not due to quantitatively important modifications in the composition of the culture medium. Therefore, it was proposed that this was a more direct response and, consequently, there should be specific mediators of recognition between these species.
The working hypothesis is that at least part of this interaction is mediated by extracellular vesicles, and that these may be involved in interactions between yeasts of the same or different species, or between yeasts and bacteria. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are particles naturally released by living cells and bounded by a lipid bilayer, which cannot self-replicate. They are produced by organisms belonging to all three domains of life; and can be formed by various mechanisms.
During the development of his thesis, Miguel will test this hypothesis through a variety of experimental approaches.