Molecular plant-microbe interactions

Our research centers on molecular aspects of the interaction between plants and the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora. Phytophthora species belong to the kingdom of Stramenopila and are known to cause great economical and ecological damage. 

To study the battle between host and pathogen at the molecular level, we use the interaction of Arabidopsis and Phytophthora brassicae to address two basic questions: How do resistant plants successfully defend against Phytophthora infection and how can virulent P. brassicae isolates overcome the host defenses in compatible interactions? We are currently especially interested in the role of Phytophthora-encoded effector proteins that are introduced into host cells with the aim to undermine the activation and excecution of specific plant defense responses. 

Another current focus is to identify molecules and cytological reponses that play a role in actually halting pathogen growth in a incompatible interaction. Finally, the effect of plant compounds on gene expression in Phytophthora is another target of our research.


Recent Publications

  • Expression of a Fungal Lectin in Arabidopsis Enhances Plant Growth and Resistance Toward Microbial Pathogens and a Plant-Parasitic Nematode
    Moradi, Aboubakr; El-Shetehy, Mohamed; Gamir, Jordi; Austerlitz, Tina; Dahlin, Paul; et al.
    Frontiers In Plant Science  10.3389/fpls.2021.657451 Published: APR 9 2021
  • Silica nanoparticles enhance disease resistance in Arabidopsis plants
    El-Shetehy, Mohamed; Moradi, Aboubakr; Maceroni, Mattia; Reinhardt, Didier; Petri-Fink, Alke; et al.
    Nature Nanotechnology, 10.1038/s41565-020-00812-0, MAR 2021
  • Potential of Moroccan isolates of plant growth promoting streptomycetes for biocontrol of the root rot disease of pea plants caused by the oomycete pathogen Aphanomyces euteiches.
    Oubaha, Brahim; Nafis, Ahmed; Ezzanad, Abdellah; Stumpe, Micheal; Mauch, Felix; et al.
    Biocontrol Science And Technology, 10.1080/09583157.2020.1846160, NOV 2020
  • A Phytophthora effector protein promotes symplastic cell-to-cell trafficking by physical interaction with plasmodesmata-localised callose synthases
    Tomczynska, Iga; Stumpe, Michael; Doan, Tu Giang; Mauch, Felix
    New Phytologist OI: 10.1111/nph.16653  Published: SEP 2020
  • The potential of antagonistic moroccan Streptomyces isolates for the biological control of damping-off disease of pea (Pisum sativum L.) caused by Aphanomyces euteiches
    Oubaha, B; Nafis, A; Baz, M; Mauch, F; Barakate, M
    JOURNAL OF PHYTOPATHOLOGY, 167 (2):82-90; 10.1111/jph.12775 FEB 2019
  • A conserved RxLR effector interacts with host RABA-type GTPases to inhibit vesicle-mediated secretion of antimicrobial proteins
    Tomczynska, I; Stumpe, M; Mauch, F
    PLANT JOURNAL, 95 (2):187-203; 10.1111/tpj.13928 JUL 2018
  • The sterol-binding activity of PATHOGENESIS-RELATED PROTEIN 1 reveals the mode of action of an antimicrobial protein 
    Gamir, Jordi; Darwiche, Rabih; van't Hof, Pieter; et al. 
    PLANT JOURNAL, 89 (3): 502-509 FEB 2017
  • Regulatory and Functional Aspects of Indolic Metabolism in Plant Systemic Acquired Resistance 
    Stahl, Elia; Bellwon, Patricia; Huber, Stefan; et al. 
    MOLECULAR PLANT, 9 (5): 662-681 MAY 2 2016
  • Pathogen and Circadian Controlled 1 (PCC1) regulates polar lipid content, ABA-related responses, and pathogen defence in Arabidopsis thaliana 
    Mir, Ricardo; Luisa Hernandez, M.; Abou-Mansour, Eliane; et al. 
    JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BOTANY, 64 (11): 3385-3395 AUG 2013
  • Export of Salicylic Acid from the Chloroplast Requires the Multidrug and Toxin Extrusion-Like Transporter EDS5 
    Serrano, Mario; Wang, Bangjun; Aryal, Bibek; et al. 
    PLANT PHYSIOLOGY, 162 (4): 1815-1821 AUG 2013
Felix Mauch

Prof. Dr. Felix Mauch
University of Fribourg
Department of Biology
1700 Fribourg

Tel: +41 (0)26 300 88 17

Research topics

  • Functional analysis of Phytophthora RxLR-effectors
  • Defense signaling in the Arabidopsis-Phytophthora interaction
  • Role of indole-derived secondary metabolites in plant defense
  • Biosynthesis of glucosinolates
  • Regulation of Phytophthora gene expression



  • Plant innate immunity
  • Crosstalk between biotic and abiotic stress signaling
  • Plant secondary metabolites