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Summia Gul

Characterization of smut fungal effectors responsible for plant infection

Fungal plant pathogens are of huge economic importance and cause many diseases in growing field plants, thus threaten the production of important crops. Smut fungi are prevalent group of plant-pathogenic fungi that affect agriculturally important cereal crops. some of the most commonly studied smut fungi include Sporisorium reilianum, Ustilago hordei and Ustilago maydis. Fungi establish their relationship and colonize the plant by targeting their defense component and metabolic pathway thus has adopted highly diverse life style, ranging from symbiotic to necrotrophic. Fungal effector molecules are secreted in order to regulate the process of colonization and perform function either in the interaction zone of fungal hyphae and host or transferred to plant cells. These effectors suppress plant defense responses and modulate plant physiology to accommodate fungal invaders and provide them with nutrients.

Thecaphora thlaspeos rises as a novel infection system of Brassicaceae, and infecting A. thaliana will enable us to identify and analyse the role of candidate effectors. In my PhD I want to identify and functionally characterize the effectors conserved between T. thlaspeos and its closest homolog P. flocculosa. Both of these fungal species infect the plant without causing any macroscopic symptoms which make it more interesting to study. 

Starting date: 01.10.2017 / PhD student

Thesis committee members: Vera Göhre, Michael Feldbrügge, Laura Rose

Mini Academic CV:

  •  2013
    • Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) Plant Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan
  • 2015
    • Master of Science (M. Sc.) Molecular Plant Pathology, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan



Naz, H. S., Gul, S., Chaudhary, H. J., & Munis, M. F. H. (2015). First report of Rhizopus oryzae causing fruit rot of Citrus medica L. in Pakistan. Journal of Plant Pathology, 97(1).

Hakim, S., Liaquat, F., Gul, S., Chaudhary, H. J., & Munis, M. F. H. (2015). Presence of Bacillus pumilus causing fruit rot of Ficus lacor in Pakistan. Journal of Plant Pathology, 97(3).

Ullah, A., Hussain, A., Shaban, M., Khan, A. H., Alariqi, M., Gul, S., Jun, Z., Lin, S., Li, J., Jin. S., & Munis, M. F. H. (2017). Osmotin: A plant defense tool against biotic and abiotic stresses. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry.