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B2.2: A Verticillium effector triggering de novo xylem formation and enhanced host plant drought stress tolerance

Volker Lipka & Harry Brumer
PhD student: Konrad Subieta



Fungi of the genus Verticillium induce severe wilting symptoms on their respective host plants. An exception is the Arabidopsis pathogen Verticillium longisporum, which has an entirely different infection strategy and typically does not negatively affect the water status of its host plants. We earlier demonstrated that V. longisporum induces de novo formation of water conducting tissues on Arabidopsis, which even renders infected plants more resistant to drought stress (Reusche et al., 2012; Reusche et al., 2014).











This complex phenotype appears to be dependent on secretion of a single fungal effector protein, which we now identified via comparative genome and transcriptome analyses (unpublished). In this project, which will be co-supervised by Prof. Dr. Volker Lipka (University of Goettingen) and Prof. Harry Brumer (University of Vancouver), the selected PhD candidate will focus on the functional analysis of this effector protein. The project will involve a variety of different techniques and will combine genetics, cell biology, molecular biology and biochemical experimental strategies.

Reusche, M., Thole, K., Janz, D., Truskina, J., Rindfleisch, S., Drübert, C., Polle, A., Lipka, V., and Teichmann, T. (2012). Verticillium Infection triggers VASCULAR-RELATED NAC DOMAIN7-Dependent de novo xylem formation and enhances drought tolerance in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell 24: 3823-3837.

Reusche, M., Truskina, J., Thole, K., Nagel, L., Rindfleisch, S., Tran, V.T., Braus-Stromeyer, S.A., Braus, G.H., Teichmann, T., Lipka, V. (2014) Infections with the vascular pathogens Verticillium longisporum and Verticillium dahliae induce distinct disease symptoms and differentially affect drought stress tolerance of Arabidopsis thaliana. Environmental and Experimental Botany 108: 23-37.