Plant-Microsymbiont Interaction -
Stefanie Wienkoop Group

Room: 1.311
Althanstraße 14 (UZA I)
1090 Vienna, Austria
+43-1-4277-76560
stefanie.wienkoop@univie.ac.at

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Research Focus

COST Action 1306 PhenomenALL The quest for tolerant varieties

Development and integration of  -omics techniques, including mass spectrometry based metabolomics and proteomics with phenotyping, allows Wienkoop to gain large insights into plant-microbe interactions and to resolve the complexity of metabolic communication and adjustment processes of plants and microbes.

Wienkoop`s team investigates the metabolic exchange between plants and microbes and the influence microsymbionts have on the plant`s immune system and how this induces stress resistance upon environmental perturbations such as drought or pathogen attack.

 

Current PhD Students

Sebastian Schneider, Nima Ranjbar, Julian Preiner

Unraveling the proteome of the symbiosome (peribacteroid) membrane (SM)

Legumes establish symbiotic interactions with soil microbes. Rhizobia symbiosis for instance, leads to the formation of root nodules, the organ where the mutualistic metabolic exchange between plant and bacteroids is taking place. In nodules, the SM is the interface for the metabolic exchange between plant and bacteroids. Several proteins have been identified by Wienkoop & Saalbach (2003). Wienkoop`s team and coworker recently revealed the important function of the sulfate transporter (SST1). They demonstrated that the bacteroids take up 20‐fold more sulfate than the nodule host cells. Furthermore, they showed that nitrogenase biosynthesis relies on high levels of imported sulfate from the plant.

 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/pce.13481

 

Interaction with rhizobia leads to increased drought tolerance of plants

It is commonly accepted that plant species differ in their ability to tolerate abiotic stresses such as drought. This feature is used in plant breeding to select for those plants that have the genetic background best adapted to the environmental constrains. However, not much is known about the effects, soil microbes have on theplants  immune system. Some symbiotic microbes can increase the stress tolerance of the plants by increasing metabolic resistance. Wienkoop`s team found that interaction with rhizobia leads to decelerated leaf senescence of legumes during drought along accelerated recovery upon re-watering. To tackle all the molecular mechanisms, responsible for this “symbiont induced stay green effect” (SISG) is one major focus of Wienkoop`s research group.

Artikel: Bodenbakterien lassen Blätter von Hülsenfrüchten bei Trockenstress langsamer welken

 

Microbial symbionts improve the plant`s immune response to pathogen attack

The team also investigates the microbial impact on the plant`s immune response to pathogen attack. Symbiosis can enhance e.g. phytoalexin production for increased resistance of the plants against biotic stress. This can lead to improved seed protection and quality.

Projects

Microbial Nitrogen Cycling – From Single Cells to Ecosystems FWF funded doctoral program (DK plus) “Microbial Nitrogen Cycling”
PI of Subproject: Effects of nutrients on N-fixation of Lotus spp. and Rhizobium strains
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Tripartite symbiosis formed by Pisum sativum, rhizobia and mycorrhiza: Implications for the symbionts, the host plant and the pathogenic fungi,
FWF [P 24870-B22]
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Multilevel analysis towards drought tolerance in Legumes

FWF [P23441-B20]
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Alumni

PhDs: David Lyon, Christiana Staudinger, Vlora Mehmeti, Reinhard Turetschek

PostDocs: Ma.-Angeles Castillejo, Getinet Desalegn

Masters: Christiana Staudinger, Tamara Epple, Stephan Holzbach, Reinhard Turetschek, Sebastian Schneider, Benedict Dirnberger, Mathias Kolber