Research Training Group 2498

Research Training Group 2498

Communication and Dynamics of Plant Cell Compartments

Continue Seminar Series (Online)

During the lock down due to Corona we especially miss our weekly RTG Seminars in the Lecture Hall of the Biologicum Greenhouse. In the past our PhD students presented their projects and recent results in a 20 min talk and got valuable feedback from colleagues and supervisors. To hear and discuss the progress of the projects was always interesting and enjoyable. So we decided, we no longer want to do without it.

But even if social life is slowly returning some how to normal status, it’s still important to prevent further Corona spreading. Having Online seminars gives us the chance to have scientific exchange without personal contact.

We’re looking forward to listening to the next speakers and their presentations (online!).

Tentative progress – entering the labs

Whenever possible, the RTG works safely from home. As all our PhD students are currently in the experimental phase of their PhD, it is increasingly difficult to proceed with scientific work without entering the laboratory. Currently, the 4th regulation for the containment of the spread of the coronavirus is in force (4. SARS-CoV-2-EindV). Public RTG events are still not taking place. Seminars, colloquiums and workshops are suspended. But under strict observance of the regulations the laboratories are open and research can take place tentatively.

Empty streets, empty labs

In order to keep personal contacts to a minimum, it is strongly recommended to work from home as much as possible (Allgemeinverfügung des Landes SA). That means that experimental research of the RTG groups is limited to obligatory processes to protect yourself and your fellow human beings at least until 5 April 2020.

To support PhD students who are now impaired in their work the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG offered the opportunity to extend projects of the RTG (DFG-Schreiben). To get more information to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the work of the DFG visit: DFG website.

Restrictions in RTG operation

The spread of the covid-19 virus impacts greatly on campus life (uni-halle.de/coronavirus/) and now also on our RTG activities. The research by PhD students is (so far) not affected. Research is going on. However, in line with the notion to minimize all social interactions to limit the spread of the virus, all group activities of the RTG, including weekly seminars and our planned Retreat, are suspended until further notice.

It was nice having you with us.

Claire Letanneur, a very kind PhD student from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, visited the lab of Dr. Martin Schattat for two month. Here she continued working on the host-pathogen interaction and the signaling of effector proteins. Today she will give her final report with the title “Melampsora larici-populina host-specific effector homologs: Do they have a role to play in the infection process?” to our RTG members. Two month went by too fast…. All best for the future!

Bye Bye 2019

Wednesday we had our RTG Christmas Party, our last get together this year. It was a great evening with extremely tasty selection of food and drinks. Thanks to all who contributed. Find pictures of the party in the Gallery.

Thanks to all RTG members for the good start of our RTG this year. We will continue next year!

Happy holidays and a happy new year 2020!

Dr. Marie Barberon is visiting

We proudly announce that our next RTG 2498 guest will be Dr. Marie Barberon from the Université de Genève, Switzerland. On the 26 November she will personally visit some RTG-groups and talk to the PIs and PhD-students about recent research. In the evening she will give a lecture about “Plasticity of root permeability for nutrient acquisition” as a part of the Halle Plant Science Colloquium. We’re really looking forward to meeting her.


Abstract: Plant roots forage the soil to acquire water and nutrients for growth and development. This function is closely linked to their anatomy: water and nutrients move radially through the concentric layers of epidermis, cortex, and endodermis before entering the vasculature. This arrangement allows for three uptake scenarios: the “symplastic pathway”, where the outer cells actively take up nutrients, which are then transported from cell to cell through plasmodesmata; the “apoplastic pathway”, where nutrients are transported in the apoplast and blocked by the endodermal apoplastic barrier (Casparian strips); and the “coupled trans-cellular pathway”, where nutrients are transported sequentially from one cell to another by polarized influx and efflux carriers and are barred by the endodermal diffusion barrier (suberin lamellae). My group aims to functionally characterize these pathways for nutrient acquisition by a combination of physiology, cell biology and developmental approaches. We are particularly interested in suberin lamellae and plasmodesmata function and regulations for nutrient acquisition.

New guest speaker: Prof. Ralph Hückelhoven

On Tuesday, 05 November the RTG 2498 welcomes Prof. Ralph Hückelhoven from TUM Weihenstephan in Freising. His research focuses the biological and molecular causes of plant diseases. In Halle he will give a talk as part of the Halle Plant Science Colloquium at 17:00  about “Mechanisms of ROP GTPase signalling in plant disease susceptibility. We’re looking forward to meeting him and learn more about pathogen-host-interactions on the molecular level.


Abstract: Plant diseases and resistance to fungal pathogens are often considered as two sides of the same coin. In this context, disease is the result of the failure of defense due to a lack of pathogen recognition or suppression of host defenses or both. However, in case of long-lasting biotrophic interactions, it may be insufficient for the pathogen to just avoid recognition and suppress defense. Instead, a successful biotroph may take advantage of host susceptibility factors, which actively support the pathogen. The barley ROP (RHO OF PLANTs) GTPase RACB is a susceptibility factor in interaction with the barley powdery mildew fungus Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (Bgh). In healthy plants, RACB is involved in cell polarity and cytoskeleton organization and we hypothesize that Bgh profits from these functions in effector triggered susceptibility. Indeed, a non-conventional effector of Bgh interacts with RACB and destabilizes microtubules. We now identified further possible upstream and downstream interaction partners of RACB by yeast two hybrid assays, co-immunoprecipitation and FRET FLIM assays. This identified another possible effector of Bgh, several scaffold proteins that might link RACB to downstream executer pathways and proteins of membrane signalling and organization. Several of those RACB-interaction partners show the potential to support susceptibility to Bgh and display RACB-dependent subcellular localization at sites of fungal invasion or at microtubules. Together, data strongly suggest that RACB is a central hub in a network of susceptibility factors that is directly´addressed by fungal effector proteins. Additionally, RACB could represent a susceptibility factor, which does not control host immunity but rather supports processes, which are required by Bgh during accommodation of the haustorium.