Receptor kinase-mediated plant sensing

Plant Signaling

As multicellular organisms, plants constantly perceive their environment and respond appropriately, which is required for their survival, as well as the coordination of their growth and development. In particular, we are focusing on cell surface-localised immune receptors, called pattern recognition receptors, that perceive microbe-derived or endogenous patterns to activate innate immune responses.

Plant pattern recognition receptors are receptor kinases or are part of receptor kinase complexes, and thus offer exquisite model systems to study the molecular basis of plant immunity, but also the mechanisms underlying the function, activation and regulation receptor kinase-mediated pathways in growth, development and responses to environmental stresses. In addition, we are interested in identifying and engineering immune receptors to improve disease resistance in crops. 

Recent Publications

  • An evergreen mind and a heart for the colors of fall
    Sylvain Aubry, Bastien Christ, Bernhard Kräutler, Enrico Martinoia, Howard Thomas, Cyril Zipfel
    Journal of Experimental Botany, Volume 72, Issue 13, 22 June 2021, Pages 4625–4633,
  • Wheat Pm4 resistance to powdery mildew is controlled by alternative splice variants encoding chimeric proteins
    Sanchez-Martin, Javier; Widrig, Victoria; Herren, Gerhard; Wicker, Thomas; Zbinden, Helen; Gronnier, Julien; Sporri, Laurin; Praz, Coraline R; Heuberger, Matthias; Kolodziej, Markus C.; Isaksson, Jonatan; Steuernagel, Burkhard; Karafiatova, Miroslava; Dolezel, Jaroslav; Zipfel, Cyril; Keller, Beat
    Nature Plants,  10.1038/s41477-021-00869-2 MAR 2021
  • The transcriptional landscape of Arabidopsis thaliana pattern-triggered immunity
    Bjornson, Marta; Pimprikar, Priya; Nuernberger, Thorsten; Zipfel, Cyril
    Nature Plants   DOI: 10.1038/s41477-021-00874-5  MAR 2021
  • A membrane-bound ankyrin repeat protein confers race-specific leaf rust disease resistance in wheat
    Kolodziej, Markus C.; Singla, Jyoti; Sanchez-Martin, Javier; Zbinden, Helen; Simkova, Hana; Karafiatova, Miroslava; Dolezel, Jaroslav; Gronnier, Julien; Poretti, Manuel; Glauser, Gaetan; Zhu, Wangsheng; Koster, Philipp; Zipfel, Cyril; Wicker, Thomas; Krattinger, Simon; Keller, Beat
    Nature Communications,  DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-20777-x FEB 11 2021
  • A receptor-like protein mediates plant immune responses to herbivore-associated molecular patterns
    Steinbrenner, Adam D.; Munoz-Amatriain, Maria; Chaparro, Antonio F.; Aguilar-Venegas, Jessica Montserrat; Lo, Sassoum; Okuda, Satohiro; Glauser, Gaetan; Dongiovanni, Julien; Shi, Da; Hall, Marlo; Crubaugh, Daniel; Holton, Nicholas; Zipfel, Cyril; Abagyan, Ruben; Turlings, Ted C. J.; Close, Timothy J.; Huffaker, Alisa; Schmelz, Eric A
    Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America 117(49): 31510-31518   DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2018415117   DEC 8 2020
  • Lumi-Map, a Real-Time Luciferase Bioluminescence Screen of Mutants Combined with MutMap, Reveals Arabidopsis Genes Involved in PAMP-Triggered Immunity
    Kato, Hiroaki; Onai, Kiyoshi; Abe, Akira; Shimizu, Motoki; Takagi, Hiroki; et al.
    Molecular Plant-microbe Interactions   DOI: 10.1094/MPMI-05-20-0118-TA  DEC 2020
  • The calcium-permeable channel OSCA1.3 regulates plant stomatal immunity
    Thor, Kathrin; Jiang, Shushu; Michard, Erwan; George, Jeoffrey; Scherzer, Soenke; et al.
    Nature  DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2702-1, SEP 24 2020
  • Chitin perception in plasmodesmata characterizes submembrane immune-signaling specificity in plants
    Cheval, Cecilia; Samwald, Sebastian; Johnston, Matthew G.; de Keijzer, Jeroen; Breakspear, Andrew; et al.
    Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America,  DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1907799117 APR 28 2020
  • Update on Receptors and Signaling
    Cheung, Alice Y.; Qu, Li-Jia; Russinova, Eugenia; Zhao, Yunde; Zipfel, Cyril
    Plant Physiology DOI: 10.1104/pp.20.00275, APR 2020
  • Carbonic anhydrases CA1 and CA4 function in atmospheric CO2-modulated disease resistance
    Zhou, Yeling; Vroegop-Vos, Irene A.; Van Dijken, Anja J. H.; Van der Does, Dieuwertje; Zipfel, Cyril; et al.
    Planta  DOI: 10.1007/s00425-020-03370-w  MAR 7 2020
  • CrRLK1L receptor-like kinases HERK1 and ANJEA are female determinants of pollen tube reception
    Galindo-Trigo, Sergio; Blanco-Tourinan, Noel; DeFalco, Tomas A.; Wells, Eloise S.; Gray, Julie E.; et al.
    Embo Reports, 10.15252/embr.201948466, FEB 2020
  • The fungal subtilase AsES elicits a PTI-like defence response in Arabidopsis thaliana plants independently of its enzymatic activity
    del Pilar Caro, Maria; Holton, Nicholas; Conti, Gabriela; Laura Venturuzzi, Andrea; Gustavo Martinez-Zamora, Martin; et al.
    Molecular Plant Pathology,  DOI: 10.1111/mpp.12881
  • TTL Proteins Scaffold Brassinosteroid Signaling Components at the Plasma Membrane to Optimize Signal Transduction in Arabidopsis
    Amorim-Silva, V; Garcia-Moreno, A; Castillo, AG; Lakhssassi, N; del Valle, AE; Perez-Sancho, J; Li, YS; Pose, D; Perez-Rodriguez, J; Lin, J; Valpuesta, V; Borsani, O; Zipfel, C; Macho, AP; Botella, MA
    PLANT CELL, 31 (8):1807-1828; 10.1105/tpc.19.00150 AUG 2019
  • A Lotus japonicus cytoplasmic kinase connects Nod factor perception by the NFR5 LysM receptor to nodulation
    Wong, JEMM; Nadzieja, M; Madsen, LH; Bucherl, CA; Dam, S; Sandal, NN; Couto, D; Derbyshire, P; Uldum-Berentsen, M; Schroeder, S; Schwammle, V; Nogueira, FCS; Asmussen, MH; Thirup, S; Radutoiu, S; Blaise, M; Andersen, KR; Menke, FLH; Zipfel, C; Stougaard, J
    PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 116 (28):14339-14348; 10.1073/pnas.1815425116 JUL 9 2019
  • Mechanisms of RALF peptide perception by a heterotypic receptor complex
    Yu Xiao, Martin Stegmann, Zhifu Han, Thomas A. DeFalco, Katarzyna Parys, Li Xu, Youssef Belkhadir, Cyril Zipfel and Jijie Chai
    Nature, 10 July 2019. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1409-7

Prof. Dr. Cyril Zipfel
University of Zurich
Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
8008 Zurich

Tel: +41 44 63 48222

Research topics

  • Plant innate immunity
  • Plant receptor kinases
  • Phosphorylation-based regulation of plant signaling
  • Plasma membrane organization
  • Cell wall integrity sensing  
  • Plant biotechnology 


  • Protein-protein interactions
  • Protein phosphorylation analysis
  • Plant-bacteria interactions
  • Bioimaging
  • Signaling bioassays in immunity, growth and development
  • Electrophysiology