Plant – Fungal interactions
The research in the group has an emphasis on generating a mechanistic understanding on molecular level on plant defense to various fungal or fungal-like pathogens, of importance for Swedish agriculture.
- We have identified resistance genes to Leptosphaeria maculans causing blackleg on Brassica crops, and identified a number of important defense signaling pathways. Current work tries to decipher impact of plant hormones and function of selected resistance proteins as well as influence of fungal effectors.
- Verticillium wilt is a serious soilborne fungal disease on Brassica oil crops. In this pathosystem we have identified a handful of potential important genes being active in plant roots during fungal attack. Work on fungal genetics and genomics are ongoing.
- We have taken an active role of capacity building of plant biotechnology in East Africa since 1999. During the last five years the work has had an emphasis on sorghum diseases where we have identified a number of resistance genes, findings that lay the basis for marker development and improved resistance breeding. Evolution on fungal mating genes and Setosphaeria turcica effectors are presently of interest.
- In Sweden as elsewhere, Phytophthora infestans is a huge problem on potato. We are exploiting how small RNAs influence gene function and are interested to investigate how RNA biology could be used to improve resistance to this devastating oomycete.
Soilborne pathogens in general impose increasing threats to crop production. In the BioSoM program, we are studying sclerotia biology as well as fungal genomics of Rhizoctonia and Plasmodiophora brassicae.