Dr. Kathrin Wippel

Research Focus

In nature, plants accommodate species-specific microbial communities on their roots that are crucial for host health, development, and protection against pathogens. We have shown in laboratory experiments with Arabidopsis thaliana and the legume Lotus japonicus, that these commensal bacteria exhibit host preference for the plant species from which they were isolated. To identify the molecular mechanisms and assembly dynamics of the root-associated host-specific microbiota, I am using synthetic bacterial communities, gnotobiotic microbiota reconstitution systems, and a combination of next generation sequencing, imaging, and metabolomics. This has relevant implications in sustainable agriculture for the design of stable beneficial field inocula.

The five most important publications

  1. Wippel K.*, Tao, K.*, Niu, Y., Zgadzaj, R., Kiel, N., Guan, R., Dahms, E., Zhang, P., Jensen, D.B., Logemann, E., Radutoiu, S., Schulze-Lefert, P., Garrido-Oter, R. (2021). Host Preference and Invasiveness of Commensals in the Lotusand Arabidopsis Root Microbiota. Nature Microbiology, 6, 1150-1162. *co-first authors
  2. Durán, P., Flores-Uribe, J., Wippel, K., Zhang, P., Guan, R., Melkonian, B., Melkonian, M., Garrido-Oter, R. (2021). Shared Features and Reciprocal Complementation of the Chlamydomonas and Arabidopsis microbiota. Nature Communications, 13, 406.
  3. Wippel, K., Long. S.R. (2019). Symbiotic Performance of Sinorhizobium meliloti lacking ppGpp depends on the Medicagohost species. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, 32(6), 717-728
  4. Wippel, K., Long, S.R. (2016). Contributions of Sinorhizobium meliloti Transcriptional Regulator DksA to Bacterial Growth and Efficient Symbiosis with Medicago sativa. Journal of Bacteriology, 198, 1374-1383
  5. Wahl, R.*, Wippel, K.*, Goos, S., Kämper, J., and Sauer, N. (2010). A Novel High-Affinity Sucrose Transporter Is Required for Virulence of the Plant Pathogen Ustilago maydis. PLoS Biology, 8, e1000303. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000303*equal contribution
Dr. Kathrin Wippel

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Department of Plant Microbe Interactions
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research