Papain-like cysteine proteases (PLCPs) are crucial in the orchestration of SA-dependent plant defense signaling. In maize, the activity of PLCPs results in the production of the signaling peptide Zip1, which induces the SA-signaling pathway and, in turn, leads to an activation of PLCPs in the maize apoplast. This constitutes a positive feedback loop to induce a plant immune response.
Consequently, Zip1 reduces the virulence of the biotrophic fungus Ustilago maydis. The finding of Zip1 as an SA-inducing immune signal is unique to date, which makes it an interesting research object for my thesis.
My PhD project aims to characterize the biochemical processes which lead to release of Zip1 from its precursor protein Prozip1. Moreover, I am interested in the mechanism of Zip1 perception, as well as its evolutionary history and diversity among different plant species.
University of Cologne
CEPLAS / Institute of Botany
Chair of Terrestrial Microbiology
Zülpicher Straße 47a
Tel: +49 221-470-4572
Fax: +49 221-470-7406