Cross-kingdom RNA communication during smut fungal infection by Thecaphora thlaspeos
Plant pathogens modify plant processes by secreting effector molecules. These molecules can also take the form of RNAs and wage cross-kingdom RNA-based warfare. T.thlaspeos is a Brassicaceae smut fungus naturally infecting Arabis species. It colonizes the plant vasculature systematically and can overwinter in its perennial hosts. One proposed mechanism of effector molecules’ delivery to a pathogen is via extracellular vesicles (EVs). With conserved RNAi machinery in T. thlaspeos, the sRNAs associated with infecting pathogens are considered to be transported via these EVs. However molecular mechanisms of EV generation, loading, and its mode of action are largely elusive. Hence, the goal of my PhD project is to understand how smut fungi T. thlaspeos employs its mRNA and sRNA species for EV-mediated cross-kingdom communication.
Starting date: 01.11.2021 / Associated Doctoral Researcher
Thesis committee members: Vera Göhre, Michael Feldbrügge, Arne Weiberg (LMU Munich)