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Research Interests

Different pathogens release a diverse range of biomolecules during host colonization to support infection. Small RNAs produced by the fungal plant pathogen Botrytis cinerea enter the host cell during infection and suppress host plant immunity. Herein, Botrytis small RNAs mimic the plant microRNAs and hijack the host RNA interference (RNAi) pathway to silence host immunity genes. This discovery provided the first evidence of a fungal pathogen using mobile small RNAs to suppress host plant immunity as a virulence strategy that we name cross-kingdom RNAi.


cross-kingdom RNAi



We are currently investigating how widespread small RNA-based virulence strategies and cross-kingdom RNAi are among different microbial pathogen-host systems using Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis as a model oomycete plant pathogen. Moreover, we are aiming at understanding how small RNA molecules are transported from pathogens into the host cells during the infection process. Our group employs a diverse set of genomics, transcriptomics, bioinformatics, molecular genetics, and biochemical approaches to gain fundamental knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of cross-kingdom RNAi. Understanding these molecular mechanisms and factors that determine cross-kingdom RNAi bears enormous potential in its application for RNA-based biotechnology approaches.


Our Research is supported by:

DFG   AvH   SFB924

Upcoming Events: 

Save The Date!!! 30th – 31st August 2018, LMU, seminar room no. D00.013. Up-coming 1st Mini-Symposium on Extracellular Vesicles in Inter-Organismal Communications

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