Benjamin Petre

Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich

Rust fungi effectors

Annual meeting: 2013

Fields-Topics: P1 Molecular and Cellular

Type of talk: Fellows Speed Presentation

Rust fungi effectors


I received an MSc in Molecular and Cellular Physiology of Plant-Microbe Interactions in 2009 and a PhD in Plant and Forest Biology in 2012 from Lorraine University (Nancy, France). I benefit from a 5-year position as a Young Scientist (Contrat Jeune Scientifique, 2009-2014) from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), where I work in the Tree/Microorganism Interactions (UMR IAM) laboratory (Nancy, France). Currently, I am executing my research at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK, with the help of an AgreenSkills fellowship. My research focused on molecular plant-microbes interactions and more particularly on the effector biology of rust fungi. Later on I joined Frontiers in Lausanne, Switzerland, to work with them in the scientific publishing industry.


Rust fungi are plant pathogens that feed, grow and reproduce within the living tissues of their host. This biotrophic lifestyle relies on effector molecules, which are proteins secreted from the fungi into host tissues to manipulate plant functions and promote fungal colonization. Although rust fungi are devastating crop pathogens, very few effector proteins are known. During my mobility project, I have initiated a screen of sub-cellular localisation of candidate effectors. Practically, I express effector candidate-fluorescent protein fusions in plant cells and observe fusion localisations by live-cell imaging. So far, 14 out of 42 fusions presented an informative localisation at nuclei, nucleoli, nuclear speckles, cytoplasm, biological membranes, vesicles, and chloroplasts, which provides valuable information related to the possible virulence functions of these proteins inside plant cells.

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