Prof. Dr. Gunther Döhlemann

Research focus

Our research aims to identify and understand molecular mechanisms of microbe-plant interactions. Focus is on effector proteins of biotrophic microbes, which suppress host immunity and plant metabolism.
Within CEPLAS, we are interested to i) study the role of plant cysteine proteases in immunity and how they are modulated by microbial effectors and ii)elucidate how organ-specific factors of both plant and colonizing microbe contribute to interaction outcomes.

The ten most important publications

  1. Redkar A, Hoser R, Schilling L, Zechmann B, Krzymowska M, Walbot V, Doehlemann G (2015) A Secreted Effector Protein of Ustilago maydis Guides Maize Leaf Cells to Form Tumors. The Plant cell 27(4):1332-1351.
  2. Hemetsberger C, Mueller AN, Matei A, Herrberger C, Hensel G, Kumlehn J, Mishra B, Sharma R, Thines M, Hückelhoven R, Doehlemann G (2015) The fungal core effector Pep1 is conserved across smuts of dicots and monocots. New Phytol 206(3):1116-1126.
  3. Christensen SA, Huffaker A, Kaplan F, Sims J, Ziemann S, Doehlemann G, Ji L, Schmitz RJ, Kolomiets MV, Alborn HT, Mori N, Jander G, Ni X, Sartor RC, Byers S, Abdo Z, Schmelz EA (2015) Maize death acids, 9-lipoxygenase-derived cyclopente(a)nones, display activity as cytotoxic phytoalexins and transcriptional mediators. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112(36):11407-11412.
  4. Hof A, Zechmann B, Schwammbach D, Hückelhoven R, Doehlemann G (2014) Alternative cell death mechanisms determine epidermal resistance in incompatible barley-Ustilago interactions. Mol Plant Microbe Interact 27(5):403-414.
  5. Mueller AN, Ziemann S, Treitschke S, Assmann D, Doehlemann G (2013) Compatibility in the Ustilago maydis-maize interaction requires inhibition of host cysteine proteases by the fungal effector Pit2. PLoS pathogens 9(2):e1003177.
  6. van der Linde K, Hemetsberger C, Kastner C, Kaschani F, van der Hoorn RA, Kumlehn J, Doehlemann G (2012) A maize cystatin suppresses host immunity by inhibiting apoplastic cysteine proteases. The Plant cell 24(3):1285-1300.
  7. Hemetsberger C, Herrberger C, Zechmann B, Hillmer M, Doehlemann G (2012) The Ustilago maydis effector Pep1 suppresses plant immunity by inhibition of host peroxidase activity. PLoS pathogens 8(5):e1002684.
  8. Skibbe DS, Doehlemann G, Fernandes J, Walbot V (2010) Maize tumors caused by Ustilago maydis require organ-specific genes in host and pathogen. Science 328(5974):89-92.
  9. Doehlemann G, van der Linde K, Assmann D, Schwammbach D, Hof A, Mohanty A, Jackson D, Kahmann R (2009) Pep1, a secreted effector protein of Ustilago maydis, is required for successful invasion of plant cells. PLoS pathogens 5(2):e1000290.
  10. Doehlemann G, Wahl R, Horst RJ, Voll LM, Usadel B, Poree F, Stitt M, Pons-Kühnemann J, Sonnewald U, Kahmann R, Kämper J (2008) Reprogramming a maize plant: transcriptional and metabolic changes induced by the fungal biotroph Ustilago maydis. Plant J 56(2):181-195.
Prof. Dr. Gunther Döhlemann
CEPLAS Gunther Döhlemann


+49 221 4701647

Institute for Plant Sciences, Cologne Biocenter
University of Cologne

Zülpicher Straße 47a

50674 Cologne
Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich