Mohammad Tanbir Habib - AG Rose

Evolutionary dynamics of Nod Factor Receptors and species-specificity in root nodule symbiosis

Root nodule symbiosis is common in legumes (Fabaceae). The roots of these plants interact with soil bacteria (Rhizobiaceae) and develop distinctive organs called nodules which house the bacteria and is where nitrogen fixation takes place. An early and essential event during the establishment of nodule is the recognition of bacterial nod factors by plant cell-surface receptors, which determine the compatibility between the symbiotic partners and thus shapes the specific rhizobial community associated with certain host species. In this project, we will analyze the protein and nucleotide polymorphism among several Europian Lotus species to understand the evolutionary context of multiple host genes known to contribute to species specificity and compatibility during legume-rhizobia interaction. Some of the target genes include the well-known Nod Factor Receptors (NFRs), such as NFR1 and NFR5. Recent population genetic analysis has revealed that the surface exposed LysM2 domain and the cytoplasmic kinase domain of NFR5 are the targets of adaptive evolution, which might be involved in the discrimination between potential nodulating bacterial symbiont. Here, we want to investigate the sequence evolution of another early infection specificity-encoding candidate gene NFR1 in a large number of individuals from multiple host species. Moreover, the sequence polymorphism will also be verified for other LysM like genes. The two main objectives of this study are to examine the molecular evolution of the NFR1 gene in legumes and to understand the sequence patterns of the host receptor proteins that can distinguish the compatible beneficial rhizobial species from others. To summarize, I will investigate the molecular evolution of LysM domain containing proteins in legumes using population genetic methods and try to establish relationship between their evolution and molecular function.  

Starting date: 01.04.2012 / PhD student

Thesis committee members: Laura Rose, Jürgen Zeier

Mini Academic CV:

  • 2010:
    • Master of Science in Agrobiotechnology, Justus-Liebig Universität, Gießen. Thesis at the Albercht-von-Haller Institute for Plant Sciences, Göttingen. Thesis title: “Functional analysis of Sporisorium reilianum gene cluster 19A”
  • 2009:
    • Internship at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg.
Photo of Mohammad Tanbir  Habib

Mohammad Tanbir Habib

Building: 26.03
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