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Interaction of rhizosphere microorganisms with plants

Plants interact in their natural environment with a large variety of microorganisms. The structures and importance of these microbial communities have only recently been recognized and the molecular mechanisms that lead to their establishment are largely unknown. Similarly, the ways these microbes contribute to plant performance, including plant nutrition, are not well understood. The interaction between plant roots and soil strongly depends on the plant genotype and microbial strains and is at least partly controlled by metabolites exuded from plant roots. We want to understand the mechanisms by which plants modulate their root microbial communities and to quantify the contribution of the microorganisms to plant nutrition. We use a variety of approaches, including natural variation in the capability of Arabidopsis accessions to shape the bacterial community, metabolic profiling of root exudates, co-cultivation studies with different plant and bacterial genotypes, metabolic flux analyses, and by mathematical and computational modeling.

Key publications:

Zgadzaj R., Garrido-Oter R., Jensen D.B., Koprivova A., Schulze-Lefert P., Radutoiu S. (2016) Root nodule symbiosis in Lotus japonicus drives the establishment of distinctive rhizosphere, root, and nodule bacterial communities. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA.

Giovannetti M., Tolosano M., Volpe V., Kopriva S., Bonfante P. (2014) Identification and functional characterization of a sulfate transporter induced by both sulfur starvation and mycorrhization in Lotus japonicus. New Phytol. 204, 609-619

Mansouri-Bauly H., Kruse J., Sýkorová Z., Scheerer U., Kopriva S. (2006) Sulfur uptake in the ectomycorrhizal fungus Laccaria laccata. Mycorrhiza 16, 421-427.