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Séminaire LJC de Sebastian Schornack

In the framework of LJC seminars the 4th of December at 11h Sebastian Schornack (Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge) is giving a seminar in the big CBP conference room :

How to be a good host – microbial and host strategies to control colonisation

Sebastian Schornack (

Animals and plants are constantly exposed to a plethora of microbes. Pathogens successfully break the hosts defence mechanisms, enter and colonise the tissues causing diseases. However, some microorganisms are hosted for beneficial purposes. Almost all land plants team up with fungi to establish long lasting beneficial symbiosis in roots termed mycorrhiza.

A hallmark of successful pathogens of animals and plants are effector proteins. These microbial proteins are transferred into the host cell, where they “convince” the host to permit microbial colonisation. Studying processes targeted by microbial effectors allows us to reveal these strategies. Good examples are bacterial TAL effectors (, which travel into the host cell nucleus to induce host susceptibility genes.

My group’s current research focusses on understanding plant processes which support entry and colonisation by fungi and other filamentous microbes. Their modulation will enable us to support beneficial fungi and to protect our crops from diseases. We study interactions of mycorrhiza fungi as well as pathogenic oomycetes with legumes, cereals and tobacco. In this talk I would like to introduce our research, provide some cool examples how microbes reprogram plants and which plant processes are required for colonisation. I will also touch on the potential of plant-microbe studies to intersect with and generate tools for other plant and animal research.

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