Molecular aspects of symbiosis and pathogenesis in plants

Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions

Plants interact with microbes (bacteria and fungi), in both friendly and hostile ways – this is the essence of plant symbiosis. Our studies focus on the molecular recognition events that take place in such plant-microbe encounters, and on the plants' means to distinguish between friend and foe.

Plants have an extremely acute chemical sense, “a nose”, so to speak, for molecules that are characteristic of microbes. One of our preferred examples is the plant's ability to “smell” bacterial flagellin, the main component of the flagellum, which allows bacteria to move. Flagellin triggers massive changes in gene expression in the model plant Arabidopsis, and the response is reminiscent of the “innate immunity” response, thought to be a first line of defense in animals and humans. Plants respond very differently to “friendly” microbes, such as nitrogen-fixing rhizobia and mycorrhizal fungi. Using Medicago truncatula as a model plant, we study the recognition of such symbionts and the molecular events lea- ding to a mutually beneficial symbiosis.

 

Recent Publications

  • Effects of two contrasted arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal isolates on nutrient uptake by Sorghum bicolor under drought
    Symanczik, S; Lehmann, MF; Wiemken, A; Boller, T; Courty, PE
    MYCORRHIZA, 28 (8):779-785; 10.1007/s00572-018-0853-9 NOV 2018
  • Small RNA-Omics for Virome Reconstruction and Antiviral Defense Characterization in Mixed Infections of Cultivated Solanum Plants
    Turco, S; Golyaev, V; Seguin, J; Gilli, C; Farinelli, L; Boller, T; Schumpp, O; Pooggin, MM
    MOLECULAR PLANT-MICROBE INTERACTIONS, 31 (7):707-723; 10.1094/MPMI-12-17-0301-R JUL 2018
  • Differential Suppression of Nicotiana benthamiana Innate Immune Responses by Transiently Expressed Pseudomonas syringae Type III Effectors
    Gimenez-Ibanez, S; Hann, DR; Chang, JH; Segonzac, C; Boller, T; Rathjen, JP
    FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE, 9 10.3389/fpls.2018.00688 MAY 23 2018
  • Role of the Nod Factor Hydrolase MtNFH1 in Regulating Nod Factor Levels during Rhizobial Infection and in Mature Nodules of Medicago truncatula
    Cai, J; Zhang, LY; Liu, W; Tian, Y; Xiong, JS; Wang, YH; Li, RJ; Li, HM; Wen, JQ; Mysore, KS; Boller, T; Xie, ZP; Staehelin, C
    PLANT CELL 30(2): 397-414 DOI: 10.1105/tpc.17.00420 FEB 2018
  • Improving Crop Yield and Nutrient Use Efficiency via Biofertilization-A Global Meta-analysis 
    Schutz, Lukas; Gattinger, Andreas; Meier, Matthias; et al. 
    FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE, 8: JAN 12 2018 Article (Details)
  • In roots of Arabidopsis thaliana, the damage-associated molecular pattern AtPep1 is a stronger elicitor of immune signalling than flg22 or the chitin heptamer 
    Poncini, L; Wyrsch, I; Tendon, VD; Vorley, T; Boller, T; Geldner, N; Metraux, JP; Lehmann, S
    PLOS ONE, 12 (10):  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185808 OCT 3 2017
  • Application of Mycorrhiza and Soil from a Permaculture System Improved Phosphorus Acquisition in Naranjilla 
    Symanczik, Sarah; Gisler, Michelle; Thonar, Cecile; et al. 
    FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE, 8: JUL 19 2017 Article (Details)
  • Transcriptome analysis of the Populus trichocarpa-Rhizophagus irregularis Mycorrhizal Symbiosis: Regulation of Plant and Fungal Transportomes under Nitrogen Starvation 
    Calabrese, Silvia; Kohler, Annegret; Niehl, Annette; et al. 
    PLANT AND CELL PHYSIOLOGY, 58 (6): 1003-1017 JUN 2017 Article (Details)
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Prof. Dr. Thomas Boller
University of Basel
Dept of Environmental Sciences – Botany
4056 Basel

Tel: +41 (0)61 207 23 20/+41 61 403 0424

Research topics

  • Molecular plant-microbe interactions
  • Innate immunity in plants
  • Biosynthesis and action of the plant hormone ethylene
  • Ectomycorrhiza and their role in forest ecosystems

 

Interdisciplinary

  • Arabidopsis and Medicago functional genomics
  • Chemical signaling in plants
  • Mycorrhizal symbiosis
  • Responses of plants and their symbionts to environmental change
  • Plant endophytes