Paul R Johnston

Berlin Center for Genomics in Biodiversity.


I'm interested in host-microbe interactions especially the evolution of bacterial resistance to host defences, genomics of gut symbionts, and the consequences of dynamic developmental processes such as metamorphosis for symbiosis.


Berlin Center for Genomics in Biodiversity Research, 07/2016 - date.



Kehoe, S., Jewgenow, K., Johnston, P. R., Mbedi, S., Braun, B. C., 2020. In vivo preantral ovarian follicle transcriptomics reveals signalling pathways and mechanistic cues involved folliculogenesis in adult domestic cat. Under review.

He, S., Sieksmeyer, T., Che, Y., Esparza Mora, A., Stiblík, P., Banasiak, R., Harrison, M. C., Šobotník, J., Wang, Z., Johnston, P. R., McMahon, D.P., 2020. Evidence for reduced immune gene diversity and activity during the evolution of termites. Under review.

Rodriguez-Rojas, A., Baeder, D., Johnston, P. R., Regoes, R., Rolff, J., 2020. Bacteria primed by antimicrobial peptides develop tolerance and persist. Under review.

Sieksmeyer, T., He, S., Kuropka, B., Weise, C., Johnston, P. R., Rodriguez Rojas, A., McMahon, D., 2020. Eating in a losing cause: anorexia and macronutrient manipulation by a cockroach fails to boost immunity. Under review.

Poeppe, J., Bote, K., Ramesh, J. Murugaiyan, J., Kuropka, B., Kühl, M., Johnston, P. R., Roeseler, U., Makarova, O., 2020. Selection for resistance to a glyphosate-containing herbicide in Salmonella enterica does not result in a sustained activation of the tolerance response or increased cross-tolerance and cross-resistance to clinically important antibiotics. Accepted.

Paniagua Voirol, L., Valsamakis, G., Mia, Y., Johnston, P. R., Hilker, M., 2020. How the “kitome” influences the characterisation of bacterial communities in lepidopteran samples with low bacterial biomass. Accepted.

Paniagua Voirol, L., Valsamakis, G., Lortzing, V., Weinhold, A., Johnston, P. R., Fatouros, N., Kunze, R., Hilker, M., 2020. Plant responses to insect eggs are not induced by egg-associated microbes, but by a secretion attached to the eggs. Accepted.

Paniagua Voirol, L. R., Weinhold, A., Johnston, P. R., Fatouros, N., Hilker, M., 2020. The legacy of a butterfly's parental microbiome on offspring performance. Accepted.

Bourne, E., Johnston, P. R., Monaghan, M. T., 2020. Gene expression analysis of litter-associated fungi using RNA-seq, in Bärlocher, F., Gessner, M. O., Graça, M. A. S., (ed.) Methods to Study Litter Decomposition. A Practical Guide. 2nd edition. Springer. In press.

Bellinvia, S., Johnston, P. R., Mbedi, S., Otti, O., 2020. Mating changes the genital microbiome in both sexes of the common bedbug Cimex lectularius. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 287 (1926), 20200302.

He, S., Johnston, P. R., McMahon, D.P., 2020. Analyzing immunity in non-model insects using de novo transcriptomics, in Sandrelli, F., Tettamanti, G., (ed.) Immunity in Insects, pp 35-51. Springer.

Bellinvia, S., Johnston, P. R., Reinhardt, K., Otti, O., 2020. Bacterial communities of the reproductive organs of virgin and mated common bedbugs, Cimex lectularius. Ecological Entomology 45, 142-154.

El Shazely, B., Yu, G., Johnston, P. R., Rolff, J., 2020. Resistance evolution against antimicrobial peptides in Staphylococcus aureus alters pharmacodynamics beyond the MIC. Frontiers in Microbiology, 11:103.

Rodríguez-Rojas, A., Kim, J.J., Johnston, P. R., Makarova, O., Eravci, M., Weise, C., Hengge, R., Rolff, J., 2020. Non-lethal oxidative stress boosts bacterial survival and evolvability under lethal exposure. PLOS Genetics 16, e1008649 .

Katy, J. E., Fér, T., Schmickl, R. E., Dikow, R. B., Funk, V. A., Herrando-Moraira, S., Johnston, P. R., Siniscalchi, C. M., Susanna, A., Slovák, M., Thapa, R., Watson, L. E., Mandel, J. R., 2019. An empirical assessment of a single family-wide hybrid capture locus set at multiple evolutionary timescales in Asteraceae. Applications in Plant Sciences 7(10): e11295.

Bracamonte, S.E., Johnston, P. R., Knopf, K., Monaghan, M.T., 2019. Gene expression response to a nematode parasite in novel and native eel hosts. Ecology and Evolution. 2019;00:1–16

Johnston, P. R., Paris, V., Rolff, J., 2019. Immune gene regulation in the gut during metamorphosis in a holo- versus a hemi-metabolous insect. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 374: 20190073.

Rolff, J., Johnston, P. R., Reynolds, S., 2019. Complete metamorphosis of insects. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 374, 20190063.

Elabed, H., González-Tortuero, E., Ibacache-Quiroga, C., Bakhrouf, A., Johnston, P. R., Gaddour, K., Blázquez, J., Rodríguez-Rojas, A., 2019. Seawater salt-trapped Pseudomonas aeruginosa survives for years and gets primed for salinity tolerance. BMC Microbiology 19 (1), 142.

El Shazely, B., Urbański, A., Johnston, P. R., Rolff, J., 2019. In vivo exposure of insect AMP resistant Staphylococcus aureus to an insect immune system. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 110, 60–68.

Bracamonte, S.E., Johnston, P. R., Knopf, K., Monaghan, M.T., 2019. Experimental infection with Anguillicola crassus alters immune gene expression in both spleen and head kidney of the European eel (Anguilla anguilla). Marine Genomics 45, 28–37.

Makarova, O.*, Johnston, P. R.*, Rodriguez-Rojas, A., El Shazely, B., Morales, J.M., Rolff, J., 2018. Genomics of experimental adaptation of Staphylococcus aureus to a natural combination of insect antimicrobial peptides. Scientific Reports 8.

Lu, Y., Johnston, P. R., Dennis, S.R., Monaghan, M.T., John, U., Spaak, P., Wolinska, J., 2018. Daphnia galeata responds to the exposure to an ichthyosporean gut parasite by down-regulation of immunity and lipid metabolism. BMC Genomics 19.

He, S., Johnston, P. R., Kuropka, B., Lokatis, S., Weise, C., Plarre, R., Kunte, H.-J., McMahon, D.P., 2018. Termite soldiers contribute to social immunity by synthesizing potent oral secretions. Insect Molecular Biology 27, 564–576.

Zanchi, C., Johnston, P. R., Rolff, J., 2017. Evolution of defence cocktails: Antimicrobial peptide combinations reduce mortality and persistent infection. Molecular Ecology 26, 5334–5343.

Makarova, O.*, Johnston, P. R.*, Walther, B., Rolff, J., Roesler, U., 2017. Complete Genome Sequence of the Disinfectant Susceptibility Testing Reference Strain Staphylococcus aureus subsp. aureus ATCC 6538. Genome Announcements 5.

Makarova, O.*, Johnston, P. R.*, Walther, B., Rolff, J., Roesler, U., 2017. Complete Genome Sequence of the Livestock-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Strain Staphylococcus aureus subsp. aureus 08S00974 (Sequence Type 398). Genome Announcements 5.

Berdan, E.L., Finck, J., Johnston, P. R., Waurick, I., Mazzoni, C.J., Mayer, F., 2017. Transcriptome profiling of ontogeny in the acridid grasshopper Chorthippus biguttulus. PLOS ONE 12, e0177367.

Makarova, O., Rodriguez-Rojas, A., Eravci, M., Weise, C., Dobson, A., Johnston, P. R., Rolff, J., 2016. Antimicrobial defence and persistent infection in insects revisited. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 371, 20150296.

Johnston, P. R.*, Dobson, A.J.*, Rolff, J., 2016. Genomic Signatures of Experimental Adaptation to Antimicrobial Peptides in Staphylococcus aureus 5.

Honnen, A.-C.*, Johnston, P. R.*, Monaghan, M.T., 2016. Sex-specific gene expression in the mosquito Culex pipiens f. molestus in response to artificial light at night. BMC Genomics 17.

Benoit, J.B. et al., 2016. Unique features of a global human ectoparasite identified through sequencing of the bed bug genome. Nature Communications 7(1), 1-10

Otti, O., Johnston, P. R., Horsburgh, G.J., Galindo, J., Reinhardt, K., 2015. Female transcriptomic response to male genetic and nongenetic ejaculate variation. Behavioral Ecology 26, 681–688.

Johnston, P. R., Rolff, J., 2015. Host and Symbiont Jointly Control Gut Microbiota during Complete Metamorphosis. PLOS Pathogens 11, e1005246.

Johnston, P. R., Mikolajewski, D.J., Rolff, J., 2015. Identification of viruses associated with larvae of the dragonfly Leucorrhinia dubia , and damselfly Coenagrion puella from RNA sequencing data. International Journal of Odonatology 18, 81–88.

Johnston, P. R., Makarova, O., Rolff, J., 2014. Inducible Defenses Stay Up Late: Temporal Patterns of Immune Gene Expression in Tenebrio molitor. G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics 4, 947–955.

Johnston, P. R., Rolff, J., 2013. Immune- and wound-dependent differential gene expression in an ancient insect. Developmental & Comparative Immunology 40, 320–324.

Dobson, A.J., Johnston, P. R., Vilcinskas, A., Rolff, J., 2012. Identification of immunological expressed sequence tags in the mealworm beetle Tenebrio molitor. Journal of Insect Physiology 58, 1556–1561.

Arce, A.N., Johnston, P. R., Smiseth, P.T., Rozen, D.E., 2012. Mechanisms and fitness effects of antibacterial defences in a carrion beetle: Antibacterial defence in a carrion beetle. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 25, 930–937.

Raymond, B., Johnston, P. R., Nielsen-LeRoux, C., Lereclus, D., Crickmore, N., 2010. Bacillus thuringiensis: an impotent pathogen? Trends in Microbiology 18, 189–194.

Raymond, B., Johnston, P. R., Wright, D.J., Ellis, R.J., Crickmore, N., Bonsall, M.B., 2009. A mid-gut microbiota is not required for the pathogenicity of Bacillus thuringiensis to diamondback moth larvae. Environmental Microbiology 11, 2556–2563.

Johnston, P. R., Crickmore, N., 2009. Gut Bacteria Are Not Required for the Insecticidal Activity of Bacillus thuringiensis toward the Tobacco Hornworm, Manduca sexta. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75, 5094–5099.

*equal contribution