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B3.1: Verticillium effectors mediating host plant cell identity switches and host colonization

Volker Lipka & Harry Brumer

Wilt symptoms are the hallmark of host plant infections with the haploid fungal pathogen Verticillium dahliae. In marked contrast, the interspecific hybrid species Verticillium longisporum does not negatively affect the water status of its crucifer host plants, including the dicot plant model Arabidopsis. This phenomenon correlates with induced host plant cell identity switches, ectopic formation of water conducting tissues and enhanced drought stress tolerance of infected plants (Reusche et al., 2012; Reusche et al., 2014).

We identified two Verticillium lineage-specific effector proteins that govern de novo xylem formation in host plants and microbial virulence. Their in-depth functional characterization will be the focus of this project. To this end, the selected PhD student will apply a variety of different techniques involving plant and microbial genetics, cell biology, molecular biology and biochemical experimental strategies. The project is done in collaboration with Prof. Harry Brumer at UBC Vancouver, who is an expert in plant cell wall biogenesis and carbohydrate enzymology.


Reusche, M., Thole, K., Janz, D., Truskina, J., Rindfleisch, S., Drübert, C., Polle, A., Lipka, V., and Teichmann, T.: Verticillium Infection triggers VASCULAR-RELATED NAC DOMAIN7-Dependent de novo xylem formation and enhances drought tolerance in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell 24: 3823-3837. (2021)

Reusche, M., Truskina, J., Thole, K., Nagel, L., Rindfleisch, S., Tran, V.T., Braus-Stromeyer, S.A., Braus, G.H., Teichmann, T., Lipka, V.: 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. (2014)


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