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Mycorrhizal communication: between plant response and fungal symbiosis

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  • Full or part time
    Prof E. Kothe
    Dr K Krause
    Prof J Gershenzon
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Background: With ectomycorrhiza, a mutual symbiosis is providing large ecosystem benefits to forests. The interaction between the basidiomycete fungal partner and the tree is necessary to keep up the mutually beneficial interaction. The general understanding often calls for initial down-regulation of a plant response that is mounted at the first encounter. However, current research suggests that this process is not limited to the initial infection of a root, but undergoes cycles of plant defense and fungal answer gene regulation and molecular signaling. This aspect should be investigated with the current project.

Project Description: The ectomycorrhizal symbiosis of Tricholoma vaccinum and spruce (Picea abies) is used to address the hypothesis of balanced signaling throughout mycorrhizal association. For both organisms, genome sequence, genetic methods and details of signal transduction are available from the two groups involved in supervision. A specific resource is the availability of spruce mutants that are repressed in formation of resin. As resin-countaining cells become obvious especially after fungal infection of spruce roots - but also in late stages of mycorrhizal roots - the effective signal exchange in these mutants should be compared to wild-type seedlings during establishment of the mycorrhizal interaction and the on-going interaction in ectomycorrhiza.

Candidate profile: MSc in microbiology and knowledge in molecular biology, knowledge with ectomycorrhizal is advantageous.


Wagner K, Krause K, David A, Kai M, Jung EM, Sammer D, Kniemeyer O, Boland W, Kothe E. 2016. Influence of zygomycete-derived D’orenone on IAA signalling in Tricholoma-spruce ectomycorrhiza. Environ Microbiol 18, 2470-2480

Abdulsalam O, Kothe E, Krause K. 2019. The parasitic-neutral-mutual continuum of plant-fungal interactions. J Appl Bot Food Qual 92, 246-249.

Wagner K, Krause K, Gallegos-Monterrosa R, Sammer D, Kovács ÁT, Kothe E. 2019. The ectomycorrhizospheric habitat of Norway spruce and Tricholoma vaccinum: Promotion of plant growth and fitness by a rich microorganismic community. Front Microbiol 10, 307.

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