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Molecular communication in root-microbe interactions

Understanding the molecular basis of host colonization will shed light on the plasticity of fungal and plant genome evolution and explain the strategies used by the plant to adapt to their beneficial fungi and vice versa. To date, only few effectors from eukaryotic plant pathogens in general, and from beneficial endophytic fungi in particular, have been functionally characterized. In addition to the conventional suppressors of plant immunity, it is expected that effectors having functions in nutrient mobilization, plant growth promotion and protection will be identified. Therefore, there is a growing interest to use root associated fungi as biocontrol agents to protect economically important crop plants. We thus started a broad screening that aims to assign biological functions to fungal effectors that interfere with the plant immune response but also such effectors that might promote plant growth and protection (Lahrmann et al., 2013; Lo Presti et al., 2015; Nizam, Shadab et al., 2019; Wawra, Stephan et al., 2019; Wawra, S. et al., 2019; Nostadt et al., 2020; Chandrasekar et al., 2021). Understanding the function and regulation of effectors secreted by mutualistic root symbionts and identifying their plant targets are currently priority area for research in the field of plant-microbe interactions (Eichfeld et al., 2023). We have established a network of national and international collaborators and support various groups in the development of genetic tools to study root-fungus interactions.

List of functionally characterized S. indica effectors. E5NT nucleotidase (Nizam et al., 2019), DLD1 metal binding and ROS scavenger (Nostadt et al., 2019), NucA endonuclease (Dunken et al., 2022), FGB1 β-1,6-glucan binding (Wawra et al., 2019), WSC3 β-1,3-glucan binding (Chandrasekar et al., 2021).