Daniele Armaleo, Associate Professor of the Practice  

Daniele Armaleo

My research centers on the developmental and molecular biology of lichens, well differentiated symbioses between two or three evolutionarily unrelated organisms: specialized fungi on the one hand and algae or cyanobacteria on the other. The 13,500 known lichen species represent 50% of all known ascomycete fungi, are widespread throughout most terrestrial ecosystems, and often tolerate extreme temperatures and dryness. The photosynthetic partner is known to fix the carbon (and the nitrogen when cyanobacteria are involved) necessary for the survival of both symbionts. Lichen fungi and algae can be cultured separately, in an undifferentiated state. However, the in vitro reconstitution of a differentiated lichen from the isolated symbionts is still more of an art than a science. We use as model system the lichen Cladonia grayi and its isolated symbionts. One track is the genomic analysis of C. grayi. Another track involves the study of depsides, depsidones and dibenzofurans, a unique polyketide class of secondary metabolites produced by lichen fungi and probably central to the symbiosis. A third track seeks to develop an in vitro model for the lichenization process, using axenically cultured symbiotic partners.

Education:
Ph.D., Duke University School of Medicine, 1984

Office Location: 0052 Bio Sci Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: (919) 660-7326
Email Address: darmaleo@duke.edu

Specialties:
Cell and Molecular Biology
Developmental Biology
Genetics
Genomics
Instructional Support

Research Categories: Developmental and molecular biology of symbiosis in lichens

Research Description: My research centers on the developmental and molecular biology of lichens, well differentiated symbioses between two or three evolutionarily unrelated organisms: specialized fungi on the one hand and algae or cyanobacteria on the other. The 13,500 known lichen species represent 50% of all known ascomycete fungi, are widespread throughout most terrestrial ecosystems, and often tolerate extreme temperatures and dryness. The photosynthetic partner is known to fix the carbon (and the nitrogen when cyanobacteria are involved) necessary for the survival of both symbionts. Lichen fungi and algae can be cultured separately, in an undifferentiated state. However, the in vitro reconstitution of a differentiated lichen from the isolated symbionts is still more of an art than a science. We use as model system the lichen Cladonia grayi and its isolated symbionts. One track is the genomic analysis of C. grayi. Another track involves the study of depsides, depsidones and dibenzofurans, a unique polyketide class of secondary metabolites produced by lichen fungi and probably central to the symbiosis. A third track seeks to develop an in vitro model for the lichenization process, using axenically cultured symbiotic partners.

Recent Publications   (More Publications)   (search)

  1. Armaleo, D; Sun, X; Culberson, C, Insights from the first putative biosynthetic gene cluster for a lichen depside and depsidone., Mycologia, vol. 103 no. 4 (July, 2011), pp. 741-754 [21289108], [doi]  [abs].
  2. Daniele Armaleo, Francois Lutzoni, Frank Collart, Scott Baker, and Jon Magnuson, Systems Biology of Lichen Systems: Pure Cultures of Cladonia grayi and Lichen- Dominated Biological Soil Crusts, 2011 Genomic Science Annual Contractor-Grantee Meeting/USDA-DOE Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy Program Meeting, Crystal City, Virginia (April, 2011) [pdf] .
  3. Joneson, S; Armaleo, D; Lutzoni, F, Fungal and algal gene expression in early developmental stages of lichen-symbiosis., Mycologia, vol. 103 no. 2 (September 19, 2010), pp. 291-306 [20943535], [doi]  [abs].
  4. Armaleo, D; May, S, Sizing the fungal and algal genomes of the lichen Cladonia grayi through quantitative PCR, Symbiosis, vol. 49 no. 1 (2009), pp. 43-51 [lichen%20symbiont%20genomes.pdf], [doi]  [abs].
  5. Armaleo, D; Zhang, Y; Cheung, S, Light might regulate divergently depside and depsidone accumulation in the lichen Parmotrema hypotropum by affecting thallus temperature and water potential., Mycologia, vol. 100 no. 4 (July, 2008), pp. 565-576 [18833750]  [abs] [author's comments].