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Understanding the Recycling Programme of Plants

Autophagy enables plants to degrade proteins and other cellular components. The grant focuses on the role this process plays in the interaction between plants and microbes.

Plants interact with microbes all the time – some of these interactions benefit them, others make them sick. Professor Suayb Üstün will be studying the role of the so-called autophagy process in these interactions as part of his ERC grant. To all intents and purposes, autophagy is a recycling programme in cells, with which, for example, misfolded proteins, but also entire cell organelles can be degraded. To this end, a membrane wraps itself around the object that needs to be disposed of and encapsulates it. The membrane vesicle then migrates to special disposal stations in the cell where the cargo is degraded. Microbes can activate this autophagy mechanism in plants. Pathogens, for example, hijack it for their own purposes, thereby increasing their pathogenicity. Typically, autophagy can take many forms, which can differ from cell type to cell type. This diversity is the focus of the project “Utilizing diversity to decipher the role of autophagy in plant-microbe interactions – DIVERSIPHAGY”.

The grant has a budget of 1.5 million euros for five years. The project started in 2021.

Grantee Professor Suayb Üstün

Suayb Üstün heads the research group Plant Cell Biology at the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology.


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