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About Gregor Langen and his project

Personal Information

Phone: +49 (0) 221 470-1551
Secretary: +49 (0) 221 470-5259


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ORCID 0000-0002-8321-1756
ResearcherID B-1407-2014


Since 2014: Group Leader position in the AG Zuccaro, Institute for Plant Sciences, University of Cologne, Germany

1998 - 2014: Group Leader at the Institute of Phytopathology and Applied Zoology, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany. Immunity of plants with focus on fungal pathogen recognition and signal transduction in barley and Arabidopsis

1995 - 1998: Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Bayer Crop Science, Monheim, Germany. Topic of the research project "Genetically engineered broad-spectrum plant resistance to tospoviruses"

1995: Doctorate (Dr. rer. nat.). Thesis title "Molecular recognition of stem rust in wheat" ("Summa Cum Laude" = with the highest honour)

1991 - 1994: PhD student at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany (Plant Physiology and Phytopathology)

1991: Degree: Diploma in Plant Physiology

1984 - 1991: Study of Biology at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany


Genomics and transcriptomics

Gregor Langen is interested in knowing how fungal root endophytes help crop plants to sustain stress caused for example by fungal pathogens. His work aims to characterize the molecular mechanism underlying the fungal beneficial effects of Serendipitaceae (Sebacinales, Agaricomycotina) in monocotyledonous crop plants and the model plant Arabidopsis.

The availability of the genomes of Serendipita indica and S. vermifera, together with those of multiple additional endophytes, ECM, orchid and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi publicly available at the JGI portal and at the NCBI makes it possible to pinpoint the polyphyletic adaptation to a root symbiotic lifestyle. It is based on convergent loss of ancestral saprotrophic characters in ECM fungi on the one hand and on their maintenance and reinforcement in endophytic Serendipitaceae, as in other ericoid or orchid mycorrhizal fungi on the other hand. However, most of the many mycorrhizal types described in Sebacinales, such as ECM, ericoid or orchid mycorrhizal species, apparently obligate biotrophic due to their uncultivability, are not yet sequenced. Their genome sequence (e.g., obtained from environmental samples) would aid in the analyses of synteny and identification of coding genes and gene families that have expanded in the species depending on their lifestyles. This would help understanding the transition from endophytic to purely mycorrhizal lifestyle, a major evolution that repeatedly occurred in fungi and that can be best studied in Sebacinales. Our efforts currently point toward that direction.

An overview of the main Sebacinales interactions with plant roots. Weiß, M., Waller, F., Zuccaro, A. and Selosse, M.-A. (2016). New Phytol, 211: 20–40. doi:10.1111/nph.13977.

Arabidopsis thaliana Col-0 roots (red, stained with FM4-64) colonized by Serendipita vermifera AFF305830 (green, GFP strain). Lahrmann, U., Strehmel, N., Langen, G., Frerigmann, H., Leson, L., Ding, Y., Scheel, D., Herklotz, S., Hilbert, M. and Zuccaro, A. (2015). New Phytol, 207: 841–857. doi:10.1111/nph.13411.

Root cells of myco-heterotrophic orchid Neottia nidus-avis with peletons of Sebacina sp. (green, stained with WGA-AF 488).