Fall Lecture Series 2021 Detail

Evolution of Plant Symbioses by Dr. Pierre-Marc Delaux

– Part of the CDA Fall Lecture Series.


Speaker: Pierre-Marc Delaux

CNRS Research Director

Laboratoire de recherche en sciences végétales




Symbiosis – hosted by Prof. Brande Wulff



Mutualism between plants and microorganisms has been essential for the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems for millions of years. It has been proposed that even the colonization of lands by plants was facilitated by a mutualistic symbiosis formed with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. This symbiosis, by far the most widespread in land plants, results in the accommodation of the symbiotic fungus inside the plant cells. Following this initial symbiosis, multiple other intracellular symbioses have evolved in plants as diverse as orchids, Ericaceae such as cranberry, legumes or the Jungermanniales, a group of bryophytes. These symbioses provide numerous benefits, improving plant nutrient acquisition and fitness. Despite their absolute importance in terrestrial ecosystems, the molecular mechanisms underlying the origin and subsequent evolution of intracellular symbioses in plants remain poorly understood. Our research aims at understanding how these symbiotic associations evolved. Using combinations of phylogenomics, biochemistry and genetics in multiple plants we try to determine the molecular bases of the origin, conservation and diversification of these associations. 


About the Speaker

Pierre-Marc Delaux obtained his doctorate in 2011 at the Plant Science Research Laboratory (LRSV - CNRS, Toulouse III University - Paul Sabatier). Following two post-doctorates at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (USA) then at the John Innes Center (Norwich, UK) he joined the LRSV as a CNRS research fellow in 2015. In 2019 he received the CNRS bronze medal and became CNRS research director in 2020. The research team he leads at the LRSV studies the evolution of interactions between plants, from mosses to flowering plants, and symbiotic microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria. Through his international and very collaborative projects, supported by the ANR, the CNRS, the University Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he seeks to understand symbioses sufficiently to be able to create new ones by synthetic biology, applicable for sustainable agriculture.


Pierre-Marc Delaux

CNRS Research Director, Laboratoire de recherche en sciences végétales, UPS, CNRS, Toulouse INP

Event Quick Information

30 Sep, 2021
03:00 PM - 04:30 PM