Kiel Plant Center

KPC Mini Symposium October 2020

Oct 21, 2020 from 03:00 PM to 05:00 PM


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Welcome: Prof. Dr. Eva Stukenbrock (Kiel University)
Session Chair: Dr. Elisha Thynne (Kiel University)

Speaker: Dr. Kirstin Gutekunst
Affiliation: Junior Research Group Leader: Bioenergetics in Photoautotrophs, Botanical Institute, Kiel University
Title: Photosynthetic hydrogen (H2) production by means of a photosystem I-hydrogenase fusion

Cyanobacteria are the inventors of oxygenic photosynthesis and the ancestors of plant chloroplasts. Photosynthesis and the central carbon metabolism in cyanobacteria and plants are very much alike. To exploit photosynthesis for the storage of sun energy is a common desire especially in the face of global warming and efforts to transform our energy supply to more sustainable sources. Hydrogen (H2) is an attractive energy storage form as it can be utilized in fuel cells to yield pure water while releasing energy. The enzyme that catalyzes the production of hydrogen is called hydrogenase. In several successful approaches, hydrogenases have been fused to the photosystem I of the photosynthetic electron chain to produce H at the expense of light energy. However, as these techniques lack the surrounding of a living cell for repair and maintenance these devices are naturally short-lived. We now succeeded to fuse the hydrogenase to photosystem I in the cyanobacterium and gained a mutant with enhanced photosynthetic hydrogen production. This proof of concept was recently published in Nature Energy.


Speaker: Dr. Carolina Sardinha Francisco 
Affiliation: Kiel University, Environmental Genomics Group (Postdoc with Prof. Dr. Eva Stukenbrock)
Title: Environmental stresses and genetic architecture controlling morphological-related stress responses in Zymoseptoria tritici

Fungi occupy a wide range of niches that can impose different environmental constraints on their growth, reproduction, and survival. Hence, they evolved the ability to detect and respond to different environmental stresses. Here, we studied different aspects of fungal morphogenesis and genetic basis controlling cellular responses in Zymoseptoria which is the most damaging fungal pathogen of wheat in Europe. We demonstrated that environmental stresses induced morphological transitions, but different responses were found among four strains. We discovered that Z. tritici produces chlamydospores as a temperature-dependent morphotype. Using a combination of genetic mapping studies and molecular characterizations, we identified genes involved in chlamydospore and hyphal formation. Finally, we demonstrated that chlamydospores are induced in response to the osmotic stress generated during the heat stress rather than by the increased temperature, and probably, a mechanism governed through the cross-talk between the Cell Wall Integrity (CWI) and the High Osmolarity Glycerol (HOG) pathways. This is the first comprehensive study combining natural populations and genetic tools to unveil the genetic regulation underlying morphological changes in a pleomorphic fungal pathogen. The knowledge developed in this study shed light on the importance of cell development studies in discovering novel mechanisms of fungal adaptation.


Speaker: Prof. Dr. Joseph-Alexander Verreet
Affiliation: Director: Section of Plant Diseases and Crop Protection, Institute of Phytopathology, Kiel University
Title: IPM Wheat Model Digitale – results of 38 years experience for development of prognosis systems against important wheat diseases in Germany

Increasing intensity of wheat cultivation in the northern part of Europe has been achieved through shorter rotations, high plant populations and multiple nitrogen applications. These intensified agronomic practices result in substantial grain yields but also increased pressure from diseases. Control of the diseases caused by wheat pathogens has a high priority in minimizing yield losses. Pathogens that have become economically important are Mycosphaerella graminicola (leaf blotch), Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici (powdery mildew), Puccinia recondita (brown rust) and Fusarium spp. (FHB). The occurrence of individual pathogens and the economic significance of the diseases they cause can vary substantially by weather and production systems. Epidemiological development of pathogens strongly depends on the weather. Together with differences among cultural practices, this leads to differences in the onset, course, and severity of the disease complex from one year to the next. A timely prediction of yield-relevant infestation events therefore is of crucial importance. In a multi-year cooperation (1995-2020) of the plant protection service of the German state Schleswig-Holstein and the University of Kiel, an Integrated Plant Protection System (IPM Wheat Model) has been developed for the most important fungal wheat diseases.

16:10 - 16:15 Closing remarks

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