Most of our food calories come from cereal grain. The development of cereal plants strongly influences the amount of harvested grain or its yield. Cereal stems elongate when they flower (1). Tall cereals easily fall over, a devastating event for farmers, so controlling cereal height is important for cereal breeders. We recently discovered that jasmonate, a classic plant stress/defense hormone, strongly inhibits both flowering and stem elongation in barley (2), suggesting that the jasmonate pathway may be a good breeding target.
Phytophthora species are amongst the most devastating causes of disease on dicot plants. Chief amongst them is P. infestans, cause of late blight, the number one disease globally on potato and tomato. P. infestans is able to secrete proteins called effectors which are delivered inside living plant cells to manipulate various processes, including host immunity. Our group study the secretion, post-translational processing and delivery of so-called RXLR effectors. RXLR effectors may target host proteins to alter, promote or prevent their functions.
This PhD project will provide comprehensive training for the successful candidate in potato genetics (diploid and tetraploid) as well as plant-pathogen genomics/co-evolution. The student will generate and analyse state-of-the-art Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) data for the genetic mapping and the cloning of resistances effective against the late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans in established segregating populations.
S-acylation is an emerging lipid based post-translational modification affecting up to 40% of membrane proteins. We have found that S-acylation in plants is a dynamic process allowing for regulation of protein function.
We have demonstrated that Receptor-like kinases, the main means by which plants perceive extracellular stimuli such as pathogens, symbiotes, hormones and cell wall status, are regulated by S-acylation.