Hydra and the hair follicle – An unconventional comparative biology approach to exploring the human holobiont

Marta B. Lousada, Tim Lachnit, Janin Edelkamp, Ralf Paus, Thomas C.G. Bosch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2100233
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • antimicrobial peptides
  • microbial ecology
  • microbiome
  • model organisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Hydra and the hair follicle – An unconventional comparative biology approach to exploring the human holobiont'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this