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Elucidating plant-pathogen interactions at the protein level

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Soil-borne pathogenic fungi cause severe losses in crop yield and quality. In Principle, they colonize the plant root surface in response to root exudates, penetrate the cortex and endodermis, and spread systemically. While a large body of physiological and biochemical alterations in the host are reported in response to infections with Verticillium or Fusarium species, the cellular effects of pathogen colonization on the host’s root are still not fully clarified.

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This project focusses on the time-resolved analysis of the tomato root proteome in response to fungal colonization. We aim to address the question on how pathogen attack influences the tomato root proteome over several stages of fungal colonization behavior. Proteome analyses, using two-dimensional differential in gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGE) and LC-MS/MS (hybrid quadrupole-Orbitrap mass spectrometer), are used to identify proteins related to the fungal spread at the respective time points. Functional characterization of candidates involved in the root’s response to the fungal pathogens will be performed on the transcript as well as metabolic level.

 

Photo: Katja Witzel, IGZ

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