Here we evaluate our current understanding of the function of the nervous system in Hydra, a non‐bilaterian animal which is among the first metazoans that contain neurons. We highlight growing evidence that the nervous system, with its rich repertoire of neuropeptides, is involved in controlling resident beneficial microbes. We also review observations that indicate that microbes affect the animal's behavior by directly interfering with neuronal receptors. These findings provide new insight into the original role of the nervous system, and suggest (...) that it emerged to orchestrate multiple functions including host‐microbiome interactions. The excitement of future research in the Hydra model now relies on uncovering the common rules and principles that govern the interaction between neurons and microbes and the extent to which such laws might apply to other and more complex organisms. (shrink)
The conference explored an extraordinary diversity of aging strategies in organisms ranging from short‐lived species to “immortal” animals and plants. Research on the biological processes of aging is at the brink of a revolution with respect to our understanding of its underlying mechanisms as well as our ability to prevent and cure a wide variety of age‐related pathologies.
The microbiome of human hair follicles (HFs) has emerged as an important player in different HF and skin pathologies, yet awaits in-depth exploration. This raises questions regarding the tightly linked interactions between host environment, nutrient dependency of host-associated microbes, microbial metabolism, microbe-microbe interactions and host immunity. The use of simple model systems facilitates addressing generally important questions and testing overarching, therapeutically relevant principles that likely transcend obvious interspecies differences. Here, we evaluate the potential of the freshwater polyp Hydra, to dissect (...) fundamental principles of microbiome regulation by the host, that is the human HF. In particular, we focus on therapeutically targetable host-microbiome interactions, such as nutrient dependency, microbial interactions and host defence. Offering a new lens into the study of HF – microbiota interactions, we argue that general principles of how Hydra manages its microbiota can inform the development of novel, microbiome-targeting therapeutic interventions in human skin disease. (shrink)