Benjamin Menn

Research Focus

The plant immune system perceives diverse carbohydrate ligands from plant and microbial cell walls through extracellular ectodomains of Pattern Recognition Receptors, which activate Pattern-Triggered Immunity (PTI) and disease resistance. Among these ligands are oligosaccharides derived from mixed-linkage glucans (MLGs). The mechanisms of MLG perception by Pattern Recognition Receptors are poorly characterized. Moreover, the mechanisms of MLG biosynthesis in plants and microbes are not well determined. 

My project aims at using synthetic biology approaches in a heterologous system to produce active MLGs and structurally related glycans that would be perceived by the plant immune system. Also, genetic, genomic and heterologous expression approaches will be used to identify crop receptors required for MLG perception and disease resistance activation. Knowledge acquired in this project will allow the development of sustainable crop protection by using the MLGs identified as biostimulants triggering crop PTI.

Benjamin Menn

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Institute for Plant Cell Biology and Biotechnology
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf