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Dr. Matthias Pechmann

Arthropods are the most successful and widespread group of animals on this planet, and they have evolved a great variety of different appendages used for walking, swimming, feeding, perception, etc. It is believed that the great evolutionary success of the arthropods is due to the segmented body plan and to the manifold articulated appendages that develop from the segments.

During the last years I have studied the process of segment and appendage formation in the common-house spider, Parasteatoda tepidariorum, and the Brazilian white-knee tarantula, Acanthoscurria geniculata.

The current focus of my work is on the early development of spider embryos, and I have been using P. tepidariorum and A. geniculata to study and compare the establishment of the main body axes in different spiders.

I am also running a side project on dorsoventral axis patterning in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus (funded via a UoC Postdoc Grant).

Selected Publications:

 Pechmann M., Benton M.A., Kenny N.J., Posnien N., Roth S. (2017) A novel role for Ets4 in axis specification and cell migration in the spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum. eLife 2017;6:e27590. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.27590

 Schwager E.E., Sharma P.P., Clarke T., Leite D.J., Wierschin T., Pechmann M., et al. (2017) The house spider genome reveals an ancient whole-genome duplication during arachnid evolution BMC Biol. 31;15(1):62. doi: 10.1186/s12915-017-0399-x.

 Pechmann M. (2016) Formation of the germ-disc in spider embryos by a condensation-like mechanism. Frontiers in Zoology 13:35

 Benton M. A., Pechmann M., Frey N., Stappert D., Conrads K. H., Chen Y., Stamataki E., Pavlopoulos A. and Roth S. (2016) Toll genes have an ancestral role in axis elongation. Current Biology 26, 1-7

 Turetzek N., Pechmann M., Schomburg C., Schneider J., Prpic N.M. (2016) Neofunctionalisation of a duplicated dachshund gene underlies the evolution of a novel leg segment in arachnids. Molecular Biology and Evolution 33, 109-121.

 Pechmann M., Schwager E.E., Turetzek N., Prpic N.M. (2015) Regressive evolution of the arthropod tritocerebral segment linked to functional divergence of the Hox gene labial. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 282: 20151162

 Posnien N., Zeng V., Schwager E.E., Pechmann M., Hilbrant M., Keefe J.D., Damen W.G.M., Prpic N.M., McGregor A., Extavour C.G. (2014) A comprehensive reference transcriptome resource for the common house spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum. PLOS One 9, e104885

 Pechmann M., Khadjeh S., Turetzek N., McGregor A.P., Damen W.G.M. and Prpic N.M. (2011) Novel function of Distal-less as a gap gene during spider segmentation. PLOS Genetics, 7(10):e1002342

 Janssen R.*, Le Gouar M.*, Pechmann M.*, Poulin F., Bolognesi R., Schwager E.E., Hopfen C., Colbourne J.K., Budd G.E., Brown S.J., Prpic N.-M., Kosiol C, Vervoort M., Damen W.G.M., Balavoine G.and McGregor A.P. (2010) Conservation, loss, and redeployment of Wnt ligands in protostomes: implications for understanding the evolution of segment formation. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 1;10:374. *Contributed equally

 Pechmann M., Khadjeh S., Sprenger F. and Prpic N.M. (2010) Patterning mechanisms and morphological diversity of spider appendages and their importance for spider evolution. Arthropod Structure & Development 39(6):453-67.

 Pechmann, M. and Prpic, N.M. (2009) Appendage patterning in the South American bird spider Acanthoscurria geniculata (Araneae: Mygalomorphae). Development Genes and Evolution 219(4): 189-198

 Pechmann M., McGregor A.P., Schwager E.E., Feitosa N.M. and Damen W.G.M. (2009) Dynamic gene expression is required for anterior regionalization in a spider. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA 106(5):1468-1472

 McGregor A.P.*, Pechmann M.*, Schwager E.E., Feitosa N.M., Kruck S., Aranda M. and Damen W.G.M. (2008) Wnt8 is required for growth-zone establishment and development of opisthosomal segments in a spider. Current Biology 18(20):1619-1623. *Contributed equally

 McGregor A.P., Hilbrant M., Pechmann M., Schwager E.E., Prpic N.-M. and Damen W.G.M. (2008) My favorite animal: Cupiennius salei and Achaearanea tepidariorum: Spider models for investigating evolution and development. BioEssays 30(5):487-498


Dr. Matthias Pechmann

University of Cologne, Biocenter
Zülpicher Str. 47b
50674 Cologne

Tel.: +49/221/470-4691

Email: pechmanm [at] uni-koeln.de

a) A female of the common-house spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum
b) The cell membranes of the embryonic germ-disc are marked via fluorescein labelled wheat germ agglutinin (further reading: Pechmann 2016)
c, d) Expression of Toll genes in Gryllus (c) and Parasteatoda (d) that are involved axis elongation (further reading: Benton et al. 2016)
e) A spider larva showing a homeotic transformation of the first walking leg segment after RNAi with the Hox gene Deformed (further reading: Pechmann et al. 2015)
f) A six-legged female of P. tepidariorum after RNAi with the gap gene Distal-less (further reading: Pechmann et al. 2011)
g) Segmental expression of Wnt8 in a spider embryo (further reading: McGregor and Pechmann et al. 2008, Jansen et al. 2010)
h) Expression of orthodenticle marks the anterior of the spider embryo and is required for anterior segmentation (further reading: Pechmann et al. 2009)
i) Expression of Ets4 in the migrating cumulus (further reading: Pechmann et al.



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