Matilde Mengkrog Holen defended her PhD

On Thursday June 30th 2022, Matilde Mengkrog Holen successfully defended her PhD, entitled “Characterisation of genes and proteins related to chitin metabolism in Atlantic salmon”.

Matildes project has focused on chitin, an abundant and easily recognisable structural component of fungi, algae and arthropods, but also present in many vertebrates including Atlantic salmon where it’s role remains enigmatic. I this thesis Matilde employed a broad array of approaches from genomics to proteomics to reveal an expanded repertoire of genes arising from the salmonid whole genome duplication, high levels of expression showing different patterns in the gut, an insensitivity to dietary chitin supplements, as well as characterising activity of purified chitinases in vitro. The data allowed her to speculate that ingested chitin is degraded in the stomach of Atlantic salmon, while in the pyloric caeca chitin is both synthesised and degraded possibly resulting in the formation of a protective chitin-based barrier within the gut lumen.

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