TRR 356 Plant Microbe

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Comparative genomics to study the diversity and conserved components inherent to the molecular interface of plant-microbe interactions

The elucidation of the molecular factors underlying cross-kingdom interactions and their interplay is of central interest. A vast body of molecular data sets and mechanistic insights have been accumulated for a number of model organisms. From the evolutionary perspective, biological functions are shaped by selection and are conserved if they provide a “selective effect”. Thus, to understand, deepen and generalize mechanistic insights and distinguish evolutionarily conserved or adaptive signals from taxon-specific “noise”, a comparative study of cross-kingdom relationships is required. Phylogenetic comparative genomics and phylogenomics allow the inference of ancestral, conserved traits, co-evolutionary patterns and lineage- or niche-specific selective adaptations across genomes. The rise and economization of -omics methods as well as the increasing technological and analytic opportunities bear the potential of a more rapid molecular study of organismic interactions on a larger taxonomic scale. This allows the detection and comparative analysis of the underlying key factors that transcend beyond molecular model organisms. With currently more than 400 ongoing genome sequencing projects in the phylum Plants/Streptophyta - a very rich “big data” information resource is available.

In the proposed project, we aim to implement an analytic, comparative framework that builds on the comprehensive toolkit and vast data collections others and we have established over the last decades. Within the TRR313 consortium, our work will serve to both research foci. We will develop, apply and share algorithms and resources to establish a multi-scale, evolutionary systems biology framework, i.e. a framework that links genomics, phenomics, phylogenomics, population genomics and systems biology into a comparative perspective of cross-kingdom interactions.


Principal Investigators:
Prof. Dr. Klaus Mayer, School of Life Sciences, Technical University of Munich
Dr. Nadia Kamal, Plant Genome and Systems Biology, Helmholtz Munich