Signal Transduction and Plant Innate Immunity – University of Copenhagen

Contact research group leader

Anja Thoe Fuglsang
Associate professor
Ph: +45 35 33 25 86

Signal perception at the cell surface and transduction of this signal to the cell’s interior is essential to all life forms. Plants have evolved membrane-integral receptor proteins and downstream signaling cascades that allow them to reacts to external stimuli and coordinate growth.

We are interested in plant responses to both biotic and abiotic stimuli. One area covers the role of the plasma membrane H+-ATPase and the signals involved in regulation of this essential enzyme for growth and development as well as its responses to external stimuli. Another interest is plant and fungal receptors for bacterial outer cell wall molecules, the following signaling pathways in eukaryotic hosts, and the chemical structures and synthesis of some of these bacterial molecules.

Research themes

  • PSY1 signalling peptides and their receptor PSY1R. The project is a basic research project aiming at under standing the perception of a peptide hormone that has the plasma membrane H+-ATPase as a downstream target.

  • Screening for compounds with regulatory effects on plant and fungal plasma membrane H+-ATPase

  • Regulation of the plant plasma membrane H+-ATPase by kinases and phosphatases in response to abiotic and biotic stimuli

  • Perception and signaling by bacteria and bacterial microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) in plants

  • Structures and functions of glycosylated MAMPs

Current research projects

COMBAT “Combating microbial invasion through the stomatal pore”
Understanding the mechanisms in plants that lead to restriction of pathogen growth will both yield valuable biological information and help us improve plants used for food, feed and fuel in the future. We hypothesize that pathogens have developed a general mechanism by which they interfere with the signal transduction pathways controlling closure and opening of the plant stomatal apparatus. We will identify and describe the molecular mechanisms of such components in a screen based on fungal extracts. Combined with our research on perception and signaling of MAMPs in plants we will, using the same set-up, look for compounds that might prevent or reduce the entry of pathogens through the stomatal pore.
Funded by FTP (2015-2018)
Coordinator: Anja Thoe Fuglsang
Partners: Mari-Anne Newman, Thomas Ostenfeld Larsen (DTU)

Cellular effects of proton pump inhibition in S. cerevisiae
Fungal plasma membrane H+-ATPases is potential drug targets, as humans do not posses homologs enzymes. Our part of this project is to understand the cellular effects and responses upon inhibition of the fungal plasma membrane H+-ATPase. We have established new methods for detection of membrane potential and membrane integrity in living cells. These are used in addition to the broad range of classical biochemical assays employed in the laboratory.
Industrial PhD project funded by the Innovation Foundation and Pcovery (2014-2018).

Group members

For students

  • Are you interested in doing a project, you can read more about your options in the project database

  • Project database for students

  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences have various bachelor and master programs.

  • Read more about the options here