"NACing on heaven's door": the role of NAC proteins in the regulation of beneficial plant-fungus interactions
Supervision: The project will be supervised by Marcel Bucher at the University of Cologne.
Abstract: This project's focus is on a novel regulatory function of NAC transcription factors in root symbiosis with soil-based fungi. Around 500 mya the ancestors of Zygnematophyceae algae, the sister lineage to land plants that later gave rise to embryophytes, moved from water to land which was already populated by microorganisms. Symbioses of plants with beneficial soil microbes was a key evolutionary innovation which enabled the adaptation of plants to dry and nutrient poor terrestrial environments and thus laid the foundation for the huge diversity of plant life on land today. The interaction between plants and their endophytic microflora is a complex genetic trait, involving reciprocal adaptation between the interacting partners. A major scientific challenge is to tease apart this genetic trait to reveal the precise genetic variations that have combined to produce root symbiosis with beneficial endophytes.
Link to the Bucher group homepage: https://bucherlab.uni-koeln.de/