Multitrophic plant-microbe interactions

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In the Multitrophic Plant-Microbe Interactions group, we aim at understanding the fundamental mechanisms that underlie the structure and the functions of multi-kingdom microbial consortia colonizing plant roots. By combining microbial community profiling data from natural A. thaliana populations, with the use of reference microbial culture collections and gnotobiotic plant systems, we dissect how both host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions impact microbial community structure and plant health. We also generate extensive microbial genome data that serve as key resources to identify the genetic determinants of microbial adaptation to plant roots and to interpret metatranscriptomic profiles of synthetic microbial consortia. More recently, we also focused on the fascinating, yet overlooked circuits that connect root microbiota composition belowground with aboveground leaf development. We aim to identify conserved strategies used by distantly related plant species for long-distance communication with root microbes and to design synthetic microbial communities that promote resistance to multiple aboveground stresses. Our projects involve the use of tractable microbial communities, cutting-edge metabolome, microbiome and grafting techniques, as well as genetic engineering methods and advanced gnotobiotic plant growth systems to mechanistically understand and engineer plant microbiota functions.


Our projects are supported by the ERC StG MICRORULES, the ERC CoG MICROBIOSIS, the DFG priority program DECRyPT, as well as CEPLAS and the Max Planck Society.

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