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About Pia Saake and her project

Pia Saake obtained her Bachelor’s degree at the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf and included two semesters studying abroad at Michigan State University. During her thesis she worked on inducible promoter systems in Cyanobacteria (Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803) (Behle et al., 2020). In October 2019, she joined the CEPLAS Graduate School and started her PhD in October 2020.

The main objective of her PhD is to analyse and model the apoplastic purine metabolism in plant-fungus interaction of Serendipita indica and Arabidopsis thaliana and barley.

S. indica is a beneficial root endophyte of many plant species. Colonization follows a biphasic strategy with a switch from an early biotrophic phase to a saprotrophic phase that is characterized by induction of host cell-death in the epidermal and cortex layers of the roots. During colonization the apoplastic purine metabolism is strongly affected. Metabolomic, proteomic and transcriptomic analysis of the plant fungus interaction will be used to model the apoplastic purine metabolism and further investigate the role of purines in immunity and cell death.

Furthermore, the role of extracellular DNA in plant-fungus interaction and its perception by the plant will be a main objective of her work.