How does the plant decode self- and non-self-signals to balance immune response and growth?


Plants are constantly exposed to microbial signals and need to decode and integrate these signals with signaling processes controlling growth. Plants sense microbial pathogens through the detection of pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMP) and this is mediated by cell surface localized pattern recognition receptors (PRR). Perception of PAMPs triggers a signaling network that includes activation of mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPK), activation of defense gene expression and ultimately leads to PAMP triggered immunity (1). Perception of PAMPs also leads to growth inhibition, by mostly unknown signaling events. Since the regulation of growth also involves receptor-mediated perception of plant peptides there is potential for cross regulation. Some connections have already been identified that suggest some of the signaling components are shared between PRR signaling and plant peptide signaling, such as co-receptor BAK1 (2). Furthermore, perception of plant peptides has recently also been linked to negative regulation of defense response and suppresses resistance to microbial pathogens (3,4).

The current project investigates the links between PRR signaling and plant peptide signaling controlling growth. In the current project the receptor based signaling event will be studied with advanced proteomics approaches and cell biology (using confocal microscopy). Project will also involve molecular biology and protein biochemistry allowing for a broad training of the candidate. Further information can be found at or by contacting

References: (1) Mithoe and Menke (2018) COPB (2) Ladwig et al., (2015) Plant Cell 27; 1718-29 (3) Igarashi et al., (2012) Plant J 71, 194-204. (4) Mosher et al., (2013) Plant J 73, 469-482.