Seminar with Ralph Panstruga & Paul Birch – University of Copenhagen

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Seminar with Ralph Panstruga & Paul Birch

On March 3 Ralph Panstruga from RWTH Aachen University and Paul Birch from the James Hutton Institute will both give talks between 15.00-17.00 at Thorvaldsensvej 40, room H117, K117 and M117.

Ralph Panstruga will talk about “The molecular basis of broad-spectrum powdery mildew resistance”

Loss-of-function mutant alleles of the barley Mlo locus are known to confer durable, broad-spectrum resistance against the powdery mildew disease caused by the ascomycete barley (Hordeum vulgare) pathogen Blumeria graminis f.sp. hordei. This type of antifungal immunity has been discovered 70 years ago and has been widely used in European agriculture for more than 30 years.

We recently showed that powdery mildew resistance conferred by mlo alleles is not restricted to barley, but also occurs in Arabidopsis, tomato and pea. The molecular basis of this unusual type of disease resistance remains, however, mysterious. We exploit the genetic and molecular tools available for the dicot reference species, Arabidopsis thaliana, and the monocot barley to get insights into the molecular mechanisms leading to mlo resistance.

We further attempt to unravel the basic biochemical activity of Mlo proteins to understand their role in plant-powdery mildew interactions. In this context we recently discovered that a myosin motor protein is required for mlo resistance in barley.

Prof. Dr. Ralph Panstruga is Head of Unit of Plant Molecular Cell Biology at the Institute for Biology I, RWTH Aachen University, Germany.

Paul Birch will talk about: “The potato blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans seeks help from its host to cause disease”

The oomycete Phytophthora infestans remains the most serious potato pathogen, and thus a threat to food security. During the biotrophic phase of its interaction with hosts, such as potato, it delivers RXLR effectors from haustoria to the inside of plant cells.

Over recent years we have been investigating what RXLR proteins interact with and what they do to promote infection. Many RXLR effectors directly target and suppress the activity of immune regulators. However, I will report on the unexpected finding that several key RXLRs target susceptibility factors - host proteins whose activity is promoted or utilised by these effectors to enhance late blight infection.

Paul Birch is Professor of Plant Pathology, Division of Plant Sciences, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee (at the James Hutton Institute), UK.

Time: 3 March 2016, 15.00-17.00
Place: Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C, Room HKM117.