The biotrophic fungal pathogen Ustilago maydis causes the smut disease on maize. Unlike in other biotrophic interactions, resistance of maize to U. maydis is a polygenic, quantitative trait. Recently, a line-specific function of an effector secreted by U. maydis was found, suggesting that the fungus is able to interfere with maize resistance QTLs (Jaeger et al., unpublished).
The aim of my PhD is to determine the molecular basis of quantitative resistance in maize and to investigate how U. maydis interferes with its components. Therefore I am working on the identification of (i) effectors that interfere with maize quantitative resistance and (ii) maize QTLs that are targeted by effectors.
CEPLAS / Institute of Botany
Chair of Terrestrial Microbiology
Zülpicher Straße 47a