Aleksei Potekhin

Present position:

project staff

Research area:

Ciliate ecology and taxonomy



+43 512 507-50249


Academic History · Collaborations · Research interests · Projects · Publications



Academic History

  • since Feb 2024: project staff in the research project "Concert of trumpets: next generation taxonomy of Stentor", FWF Austrian Science Fund, FWF PAT 8010623

  • July 2022 - Jan 2024: guest scientist in Bettina Sonntag´s  research group at Research Department for Limnology, Mondsee, University of Innsbruck

  • Professor at Saint Petersburg State University, Department for Microbiology


Institute of Cellular and Intracellular Symbiosis, Ural Division of Russian Academy of Sciences, Orenburg, Russia (Dr. Andrey Plotnikov)
Institute of Biology, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, France (Dr. Eric Meyer)
Department of Biology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy (Prof. Giulio Petroni)
Freiburg University, Freiburg, Germany (Dr. Martina Schrallhammer)
Wuppertal University, Wuppertal, Germany (Prof. Martin Simon)
Laboratory of Protistology, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico (Dr. Rosaura Mayen Estrada)


Research interests

Genetics and genomics of ciliates; the species problem and mechanisms of speciation in Paramecium; diversity and regulation of symbioses between ciliates and bacteria; symbiotic Alphaproteobacteria.


Erasmus fellowship students (2024):
Luna Rondoni, Erasmusstipendium, University of Camerino, supervision in co-operation with B. Sonntag
Federico Ciccioli, Erasmusstipendium, University of Camerino, supervision in co-operation with B. Sonntag



Concert of trumpets: next generation taxonomy of Stentor - FWF PAT 8010623 (Jan 2024-Oct 2027), PI: B. Sonntag


  • Castelli M., Nardi T., Gammuto L., Bellinzona G., Sabaneyeva E., Potekhin A., Serra V., Petroni G., Sassera D. (2024). Host association and intracellularity evolved multiple times independently in the Rickettsiales. Nature communications 15:1093, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-45351-7

  • Potekhin A., Plotnikov A.O., Gogoleva N., Sonntag B. (2024). Editorial: Microbial associations formed and hosted by protists, algae, and fungi. Front. Microbiol. 14:1341058. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2023.1341058

  • Fokin S.I., Lebedeva N.A., Potekhin A., Gammuto L., Petroni G., Serra V. (2023). Holospora-like bacteria “Candidatus Gortzia yakutica” and Preeria caryophila: Ultrastructure, promiscuity, and biogeography of the symbionts. European Journal of Protistology 90: 125998, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejop.2023.125998 

  • Malygina A., Balkin A., Polyakova E., Stefanov S., Potekhin A., Gogoleva N. (2023). Taxonomic Diversity of the Microbial Biofilms Collected along the Thermal Streams on Kunashir Island. Ecologies,  4: 106-123. https://doi.org/10.3390/ecologies4010009  

  • Pirritano M., Yakovleva Y., Potekhin A., Simon M. (2022). Species-Specific Duplication of Surface Antigen Genes in Paramecium. Microorganisms 10: 2378. https:// doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms10122378

  • Melekhin M., Yakovleva Y., Lebedeva N., Nekrasova I., Nikitashina L., Castelli M., Mayén-Estrada R., Romanovich A.E., Petroni G., Potekhin A. (2022). Cryptic diversity in Paramecium multimicronucleatum revealed with a polyphasic approach. Microorganisms. 210(5):974.

  • Castelli, M., Lanzoni, O., Giovannini, M., Lebedeva, N., Gammuto, L., Sassera, D., Melekhin, M., Potekhin, A., Fokin, S., Petroni, G. (2022).  ‘Candidatus Gromoviella agglomerans’, a novel intracellular Holosporaceae parasite of the ciliate Paramecium showing marked genome reduction. Environmental Microbiology Reports, 4(1):34-49.

  • Potekhin A., Nekrasova I., Flemming F.E. (2021). In shadow of Holospora – The continuous quest for new Holosporaceae , Protistology 15 (3): 127–141.

  • Leonova, O.G., Potekhin, A.A., Nekrasova, I.V. et al. (2021). Packaging of subchromosomal-size DNA molecules in chromatin bodies in the ciliate macronucleus. Mol. Biol., 55, 899–909.

  • Sawka-Gadek N., Potekhin A., Singh D.P., Grevtseva I., Arnaiz O., Penel S., Sperling L., Tarcz S., Duret L., Nekrasova I., Meyer E. (2021). Evolutionary plasticity of mating-type determination mechanisms in Paramecium aurelia sibling species. Genome Biology and Evolution, 13(2): evaa258.

  • Castelli M., Lanzoni O., Nardi T., Lometto S., Modeo L., Potekhin A., Sassera D., Petroni G. (2021). ‘Candidatus Sarmatiella mevalonica’ endosymbiont of the ciliate Paramecium provides insights on evolutionary plasticity among Rickettsiales. Environmental Microbiology, 23(3), 1684-1701.

  • Sigona C., Bardi A., Modeo L., Mori G., Potekhin A., Verni F., Munz G., Petroni G. (2020). Role of bacterivorous organisms on fungal-based systems for natural tannin degradation. Heliyon. 6(4):e03604.

  • Schrallhammer M., Potekhin A. (2020). Epidemiology of nucleus-dwelling Holospora: infection, transmission, adaptation, and interaction with Paramecium. In: Symbiosis: Cellular, Molecular, Medical and Evolutionary Aspects. Kloc, M. (ed).  Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation, 69. Springer, Cham. P. 105-135.

  • Yakovleva Y., Nassonova E., Lebedeva N., Lanzoni O., Petroni G., Potekhin A., Sabaneyeva E. (2020). The first case of microsporidiosis in Paramecium. Parasitology, 47(9): 957–971.

  • Flemming F.E., Potekhin A., Pröschold T., Schrallhammer M. (2020). Algal diversity in Paramecium bursaria: species Identification, detection of Choricystis parasitica, and assessment of the interaction specificity. Diversity 12, 287.

  • Potekhin A., Mayén-Estrada R. (2020). Paramecium diversity and a new member of the Paramecium aurelia species complex described from Mexico. Diversity, 2(5): 197.

  • Tasneem F., Shakoori F.R., Ilyas M., Shahzad N., Potekhin A., Shakoori A.R. (2020). Genetic diversity of Paramecium species on the basis of multiple loci analysis and ITS secondary structure models.  J. Cell. Biochem., 121(8-9): 3837-3853.

  • Lanzoni O., Plotnikov A., Khlopko Yu., Munz G., Petroni G., Potekhin A. (2019).  The core microbiome of sessile ciliate Stentor coeruleus is not shaped by the environment. 2019. Sci. Reports, 9(1):11356.

  • Nekrasova I., Nikitashina V., Bhullar S., Arnaiz O., Singh D.P., Meyer E., Potekhin A. (2019). Loss of a fragile chromosome region leads to the screwy phenotype in Paramecium tetraureliaGenes (Basel), 10(7), pii: E513.

  • Castelli M., Sabaneyeva E., Lanzoni O., Lebedeva N., Floriano A.M., Gaiarsa S., Benken K., Modeo L., Bandi C., Potekhin A., Sassera D., Petroni G. (2019). Deianiraea, an extracellular bacterium associated with the ciliate Paramecium, suggests an alternative scenario for the evolution of Rickettsiales. ISME J. DOI: 10.1038/s41396-019-0433-9

  • Plotnikov A.O., Balkin A.S., Gogoleva N.E., Lanzoni O., Khlopko Yu.A., Cherkasov S.V., Potekhin A.A. (2019). High-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene as a survey to analyze the microbiomes of free-living ciliates Paramecium. Microbial Ecol. doi.org/10.1007/s00248-019-01321-x

  • Lanzoni O., Sabaneyeva E., Modeo L., Castelli M., Lebedeva N., Verni F., Schrallhammer M., Potekhin A., Petroni G. (2019). Diversity and environmental distribution of the cosmopolitan endosymbiont “Candidatus Megaira”. Sci. Reports, 9(1):1179.

  • Potekhin A., Schweikert M., Nekrasova I., Anikina A., Vitali V., Schwartz S., Kaltz O., Petroni G., Schrallhammer M. (2018). Complex life cycle, broad host range and adaptation strategy of the intranuclear Paramecium symbiont Preeria caryophila comb. nov. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol., doi:10.1093/femsec/fiy076/4987202

  • Lanzoni O., Fokin S.I., Lebedeva N., Migunova A., Petroni G., Potekhin A. (2016). Rare freshwater ciliate Paramecium chlorelligerum Kahl, 1935 and its macronuclear symbiotic bacterium “Candidatus Holospora parva”. PLoS ONE, 11(12):e0167928.

  • Castelli M., Lanzoni O., Rossi L., Potekhin A., Schrallhammer M., Petroni G. (2016). Evaluation of enrichment protocols for bacterial endosymbionts of ciliates by real-time PCR. Curr. Microbiol., v. 72, p. 723-732.



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