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Plant Sciences Program seminar - Prof. Axel Mithöfer

2/5/2018 10:30 AM - 2/5/2018 12:00 AM
​Abstract:
Plants react to insect attack employing an array of direct and indirect defense strategies. As a prerequisite for such appropriate reactions, first the perception of insect-derived physical and chemical cues (elicitors in insect oral secretion) followed by several well-coordinated local and systemic signaling processes including [Ca2+]cyt changes and phytohormone signals, in particular jasmonates, are necessary. Relatively little is known about the early signal transduction pathways that connect insect specific elicitors to the plant defense responses they evoke. Ca2+-ions have been implicated as second messenger in many plant signaling pathways, but its specific role in herbivory and jasmonate-dependent pathways is still poorly understood. Moreover, systemic [Ca2+]cyt signals can be detected within the plant, mainly in adjacent leaves with direct vascular connections to the treated leaf. Downstream of [Ca2+]cyt changes various calcium sensor proteins, in particular calmodulin-like proteins (CMLs), decode Ca2+ signals and translate them into specific cellular responses. These CMLs include positive and negative regulators of downstream phytohormone signaling and eventually may modulate the appropriate defense reactions. The underlying mechanisms of local and systemic herbivory-induced signaling will be discussed.

Bio:
Axel Mithöfer studied Biology and did his Diploma in 1988. In 1992 he received his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. For his Habilitation at the Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich in 1999 he worked on physiological and molecular aspects in the Phytophthora sojae - soybean pathosystem. In 2000, he moved to the INRA in Toulouse, France. After returning to Munich for another two years he joined the Bioorganic Chemistry Department of the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena in 2003 as head of the “Plant Defence Physiology” research group. He is Associate Professor at the Friedrich-Schiller University Jena. His main research interests lie in the field of plants’ interactions with other organisms: signal perception, signal transduction, systemic signaling and carnivory in plants.