Wiermer Group – Biochemistry of Plant-Microbe Interactions
Research efforts in our laboratory are directed towards understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating spatial communication between the cytoplasm and the nucleus in plant cellular immunity to pathogenic microbes (i.e. bacteria, fungi and oomycetes), using Arabidopsis as model organism. We employ biochemical, genetic and genomic, cell biological and molecular approaches to study the functions of nuclear transport receptors (NTRs) and nuclear pore complex proteins (NUPs) that are essential for plant disease resistance and control nucleocytoplasmic trafficking of immune-regulatory proteins and RNAs. These studies include proteomic analyses, forward and reverse genetics to identify novel biochemical and genetic interactors required for plant defense. In translational research approaches, we investigate functions of the nuclear transport machinery in innate immune responses of crop plants, and we study functions of NUPs in plant pathogenic fungi. Another major line of our research is aimed at exploring transport-independent NUP functions in (epigenetic) defense gene regulation and chromatin organization at the nuclear periphery of Arabidopsis cells.