Priority Program 1212 - Microbial Reprogramming of Plant Cell Development
In 2006 , the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme "Plant-Micro". The programme is designed to run for six years. The first two-years funding period started in 2007, the second in 2009. "Plant-Micro" will invite applications for the third and final two-years funding period in 2010.
Microbial pathogens rob their hosts of nutrients and can kill plants, while symbiotic fungi and bacteria provide phosphate and nitrogen and improve plant health. Despite the differences there are numerous parallels between these two types of interaction. Both microbial pathogens and symbionts reprogramme plant cellular development. The Priority Programme “Plant-Micro” aims to uncover the molecular switches that both cause and restrict disease in one system and lead to symbiosis in another. The programme will channel activities from different laboratories in a joint research strategy that exploits the plant model Arabidopsis. For research on symbiosis, “Plant-Micro” will focus exclusively on the model legumes Lotus and Medicago. Proposals using other model plant species are not encouraged, except where a convincing claim can be made that a particular mechanism cannot be studied appropriately in either of the three model plants and that the project contributes to the synergy within “Plant-Micro”. The purpose of this restriction is to maximise synergy between projects and allow the establishment of centrally managed research pipelines. These include, firstly, the screening of chemical libraries that comprise small synthetic and natural molecules of microbial origin for effectors in various bioassays for specific plant responses; secondly, a comprehensive description of patho-phenotypes of Arabidopsis mutants impaired in disease resistance or disease development; and thirdly, life-cell and non-invasive imaging technologies to describe the subcellular spatio-temporal dynamics of key molecules accompanying the processes of recognition, defence and infection. This involves the analysis and visualisation of protein-protein interactions in planta.
“Plant-Micro” invites applications with a focus on:
- the molecular dissection of plant developmental responses to microbes,
- the elucidation of microbial strategies used in reprogramming plant cellular development. This includes the identification of microbial effector molecules, their modes of action and how these intersect with the host defence machinery,
- the improvement of transformation efficiency of obligate biotrophic fungi for reverse genetic approaches, as this group of microorganisms possesses the most sophisticated infection strategies but cannot yet be manipulated,
- computational modelling of microbial infection of plants at the cellular level using experimental data in combination with the mining of completely sequenced microbial and plant genomes.
Prof. Martin Parniske
University of Munich
For administrative enquiries please contact
Dr. Catherine Kistner