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Florian Dunker

Doctoral student

Research Group



University of Munich (LMU)
Institute of Genetics
Grosshaderner Str. 2-4
D-82152 Martinsried

Phone: +49 (0)89 / 2180-74733
Fax: +49 (0)89 / 2180-74702

Work group


The role of small RNAs in plant oomycete interactions In recent years, small RNAs have emerged as crucial components in the crosstalk between the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea and its plant hosts (1,2). However, it remains unclear if comparable strategies also evolved in diverse plant pathogens with a different life styles and evolutionary origin. Oomycetes comprise dreadful crop pathogens, such as Phythophtora ssp. causing late blight diseases on different crops (3). To elucidate the function of oomycete small RNAs during plant infection, I use the obligate biotrophic pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis. This pathogen comprises a very narrow host range (infecting only the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana) and an absolute dependency on nutrients acquired via haustoria from living plant cells. The Hyaloperonospora reference genome enables a first insight into the RNAi machinery and I have determined a wide variety of small RNAs produced by Hyaloperonospora by small RNAseq analysis. In my current project, I am elucidating the functional roles of Hyaloperonospora small RNAs as suppressors of host immunity by molecular biology methods combined with next generation sequencing and phenotypic analysis of Arabidopsis mutants. Understanding the roles of RNAi and pathogen small RNAs in oomycete-plant interactions promise to provide future approaches to fight plant pathogenic oomycetes displaying massive threats to crop production and natural biodiversity.