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Symbiotic nitrogen fixation is of major importance for sustainable agriculture worldwide. Legume plants have the unique ability of acquiring nitrogen by establishing symbiotic associations with soil-borne bacteria. The rhizobia-legume endosymbiotic interaction involves major and specific reprogramming of host cells as the infecting microbe progresses through several root cell layers to ultimately reach a newly formed plant organ, where nitrogen fixation takes place. This project will investigate how spatial signaling is regulated during infection and whether direct cell-to-cell communication influences the host plant infection reprogramming.
I studied Biology at the University of Bonn and finished 2005 with a Diploma thesis at the Institute of Cellular and Molecular Botany in Bonn using fluorescent protein reporters for in vivo microscopy to study cellular processes in plant cells. Fascinated by the possibility to look inside plants and to visualize their extremely fast intracellular responses, I continued from 2006-2009 for my PhD working on mitogen-activated-protein kinase (MAPK) signaling and its contribution to the remodeling of cytoskeletal elements during plant development (role of MAPKs in the regulation of microtubule structure and dynamics during cell elongation and cell divison in Arabidopsis thaliana). For my first Postdoc in 2010, I moved to the UK at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich to study the intracellular dynamics of an important bacterial immune receptor in plants, setting up an automated high throughput imaging method to identify the intracellular trafficking pathway of this protein. My primary research interest is to understand how different signal perception can lead to specific and well organized intracellular changes in plant cells, thereby trying to develop or to improve in vivo imaging methods to study signaling dynamics in living cells.
Mbengue, M; Bourdais, G; Gervasi, F; Beck, M; et al., 2016. Clathrin-dependent endocytosis is required for immunity mediated by pattern recognition receptor kinases. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 113 (39), 1103411039.
Beck, M., Wyrsch, I., Strutt, J., Wimalasekera, R., Webb, A., Boller, T. and Robatzek, S., 2014. Expression patterns of Flagelling Sensing 2 map to bacterial entry sites in plant shoots and roots. J Exp Bot 65(22):6487-98.
Beck, M, Zhou J, MacLean D and Robatzek S, 2012. Spatio-temporal cellular dynamics of the Arabidopsis flagellin receptor reveal activation status-dependent endosomal sorting. Plant Cell.;24(10) 4205-19.
Beck, M, Komis G, Ziemann A, Menzel D and Samaj J. 2011. Mitogen-activated protein kinase 4 is involved in the regulation of mitotic and cytokinetic microtubule transitions in Arabidopsis thaliana. New Phytologist, 189(4):1069-83.
Beck, M, Komis G, Muller J, Menzel D, Samaj J. 2010. Arabidopsis homologs of nucleus- and phragmoplast - localized kinase 2 and 3 and mitogen-activated protein kinase 4 are essential for microtubule organization. Plant Cell 22(3):755-71.
2008-2009 Postgraduate Scholarschip of University Bonn
2010-2012 DFG PostDoctoral Fellowship
2015-2017 TULIP LabEx PostDoctoral Fellowship
2015-2017 AgreenSkills Fellowship