Petrosia ficiformis (Poiret, 1789): an excellent model for holobiont and biotechnological studies

Carlo Cerrano, Marco Giovine, Laura Steindler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The aggregation of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells has resulted in evolution of organisms with remarkable abilities to synthetize natural bioactive compounds of biotechnological relevance. Marine sponges such as Petrosia ficiformis are examples of this evolutionary strategy. The P. ficiformis microbiome, which produces a diversity of chemical compounds, plays a fundamental role in this sponge's extraordinary adaptation to various ecological conditions. The microbial community of P. ficiformis seems representative of sponge microbiomes, but it has an unusual exclusively horizontal transmission. This uncommon feature, together with its wide environmental distribution, its ability to generate 3D cell cultures that host symbionts, and the availability of meta-omics and physiology information make this sponge an effective model to study the complexity of holobionts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-65
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We warmly thank Cláudia Ferreira for designing the graphical abstract for this article. Part of the research reviewed in this article was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant No. 1243/16 ) to LS, and by the BlueBio Confund MEDSPON project (EU Horizon 2020) to CC.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


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