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Home > Departments > Microbiology > Denis FAURE & Peter MERGAERT : Plant-Bacteria Interactions

Plant-Bacteria Interactions

Group leaders: Denis FAURE & Peter MERGAERT

We study interactions of plants and insects with symbiotic or pathogenic bacteria.

Macro-organisms do not live alone. They live in world that abounds with microbes. While the large majority of these microbes have no -or a weak- impact on the hosting macro-organisms, some microbes engage in close interactions with them with either a positive (symbionts) or negative (pathogens) effect on the host fitness. Reciprocally, these molecular interactions contribute to the co-construction of specific ecological niches within the host that are exploited by symbiotic and pathogenic bacteria.

The team analyses the eukaryotic and microbial functions (genes, proteins, metabolites, and signals) that are involved in interactions between plants or insects and bacteria. We also investigate agronomic and environmental issues, such as the development of innovative and environmentally friendly biocontrol approaches to protect plants from pathogens or biofertilizers to enhance plant growth.

Our model organisms are the endosymbiotic rhizobia and legumes (Sinorhizobium meliloti and Medicago plants as well as Bradyrhizobium species and soybean, Aeschynomene or Arachis plants), the gut symbiont Burkholderia insecticola and its insect host, the stinkbug Riptortus pedestris, the plant pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens that induces tumors on various host plants, including tomatos, and the pectinolytic pathogens Pectobacterium spp. and Dickeya pp. and their potato host plant.

Our experimental approaches are functional genomics (transcriptomics, comparative genome analysis, transposon sequencing), genetics and reverse genetics, protein biochemistry and cell biology in the hosts, plants or insects, and in the bacteria. This multi-disciplinary approach allows to study inter or intra-bacterial signaling, host-to-bacteria signaling, and bacteria-to-host signaling.


Our research is composed of five main projects:

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Differentiation of endosymbiotic bacteria in legume nodules : Role of antimicrobial peptides and the bacterial cell cycle

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Type 3 secrection system effector signaling in the rhizobium-legume symbiosis

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The Agrobacterium tumefaciens lifestyle in host and non-host plants

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Ménage-à-Trois : the interactions between Riptortus pedestris, Burkholderia insecticola and soybean

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Plant protection in partnership with the National Federation of Seed Potato Growers (FN3PT)


Keywords

Plant pathogenesis, legume symbiosis, insect gut symbiosis, nitrogen fixation, rhizosphere, Agrobacterium, Burkholderia, Sinorhizobium, Bradyrhizobium, Dickeya, Pectobacterium, biocontrol, biofertilizer, signaling, antimicrobial peptides, bacterial cell cycle, type III secretion system, effectors, functional genomics, transcriptomics, Tn-seq


Contacts


FAURE Denis [Senior Researcher - CNRS]
Department of Microbiology [Deputy]
Plant-Bacteria Interactions [Leader]
01 69 82 34 98 Gif - Bât 34


MERGAERT Peter [Senior Researcher - CNRS]
Plant-Bacteria Interactions [Leader]
01 69 82 34 81 Gif - Bât 34

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