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S2.1: Cell death signaling in the Arabidopsis chitin receptor mutant cerk1-4

Volker Lipka & Xin Li
PhD student: Andrea Vasquez Chacon

In Arabidopsis thaliana presence of potentially harmful fungal pathogens is monitored by a plasma-membrane localized receptor complex, which detects derivatives of the fungal cell wall component chitin (Antolín-Llovera et al., 2014; Erwig et al., 2017). One structural component of this receptor complex is the CHITIN ELICITOR RECEPTOR KINASE 1 (CERK1). We isolated a mutant (cerk1-4) with a single amino acid exchange in the ligand-binding ectodomain of the CERK1 protein, which shows normal chitin signaling capacity, but altered receptor processing and enhanced pathogen-induced cell death phenotypes (Petutschnig et al. 2014).

his project will focus on the underlying molecular mechanisms and will be co-supervised by Prof. Dr. Volker Lipka & Dr. Elena Petutschnig (University of Goettingen) and Prof. Dr. Xin Li (University of Vancouver). The selected PhD student will characterize available cerk1-4 suppressor mutants and CERK1 variants with altered subcellular localization, will generate CRISPR/Cas-ko lines for genes of particular interest, and will investigate whether or not CERK1 ectodomain-derived peptides have cell death signaling capacity.

Antolín-Llovera M., Petutsching E.K., Ried M.K., Lipka V., Nürnberger T., Robatzek S., Parniske M. (2014) Knowing your friends and foes--plant receptor-like kinases as initiators of symbiosis or defence. New Phytologist 204(4): 791-802.

Erwig J., Ghareeb H., Kopischke M., Hacke R., Matei A., Petutschnig E.K., Lipka V. (2017) Chitin-induced and CHITIN ELICITOR RECEPTOR KINASE1 (CERK1) phosphorylation-dependent endocytosis of Arabidopsis thaliana LYSIN MOTIF-CONTAINING RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE5 (LYK5). New Phytologist 215(1): 382-396.

Petutschnig E.K., Stolze, M., Lipka, U., Kopischke, M., Horlacher, J., Valerius, O., Rozhon, W., Gust, A.A., Kemmerling, B., Poppenberger, B., Braus, G.H., Nürnberger T., and Lipka, V. (2014) A novel Arabidopsis CHITIN ELICITOR RECEPTOR KINASE 1 (CERK1) mutant with enhanced pathogen-induced cell death and altered receptor processing. New Phytologist 204(4): 955-967.