Nicola Scholten - AG Zeier

Identification and functional characterization of salicylic acid-related metabolites

To combat pathogens plants have evolved a multi-layered immune system, which is controlled by a complex signaling network of plant hormones and defense-related metabolites. Comparative metabolite-profiling with leaf extracts of Pseudomonas syringae-inoculated and uninfected Arabidopsis plants indicate that more than 100, partially uncharacterized metabolites with a potential function in defense accumulate upon pathogen challenge. A crucial defense-regulatory metabolite is salicylic acid (SA), which is produced in Arabidopsis from chorismate by stress-inducible ISOCHORISMATE SYNTHASE1 (ICS1). SA drives expression of defense-related genes via the transcriptional co-regulator NPR1. Further, the GH3 acyl adenylase PBS3 is required for full SA-related responses in Arabidopsis. By comparative metabolite profiling of extracts from wild-type plants and ics1, npr1 and pbs3 knockout mutants, we identified several candidate peaks with differential accumulation patterns in the lines under investigation, and thus possible functional relevance for SA signaling. Central goals of this project are to identify these unknown metabolites by a combination of analytical techniques such as GC/MS, GC/FTIR, and HPLC, and functionally characterize their role in plant immunity.

Starting date: 01.03.2015 / PhD student

Thesis committee members: tba

Mini Academic CV: 

  • 2015:  Master of Science, Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
    • Master Thesis: “Flagellin induced immune response and its enhancement through pipecolic acid in angiosperms”, performed at the Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf 
  • 2012: Internship, National University of Rwanda, Butare, Rwanda
    • Title of project: Measurements of carbon stock storage in Rwandan forest trees
  • 2011: Bachelor of Science, Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
    • Bachelor Thesis: “DNA barcoding and molecular phylogenetic studies of soil-related yeast species Cryptococcus”    
Responsible for the content: E-MailDr. Petra Fackendahl