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Sebastian Schenk

Sebastian Schenk

session, year:
2014 2nd

Former fellow

Receiving laboratory:
IPS2 (Institut Plant Sciences Paris-Saclay)

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Mobility project

Functional characterization of new Arabidopsis MAPK signaling pathways involved in environmental-induced responses

Water deficiency is an important abiotic stress that limits productivity in agriculture. In response to this deficiency, the phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) plays a crucial role in plants. This hormone regulates transpiration via stomata closure, plays a role in vegetative dehydration responses, and is involved in signaling crosstalk in both biotic and abiotic stresses. The hosting laboratory identified and characterized a new Arabidopsis MAPK module, defined by MAP3K17/18-MKK3-MPK1/2/7/14, which is involved in drought perception and activated by ABA. Interestingly, preliminary results indicate that MPK1/2/7/14 is activated by other signals, including biotic and abiotic stresses as well as by nitrogen status of the plant. The working hypothesis is that this activation occurs through different MAP3Ks activating the MKK3-MPK1/2/7/14 sub-module. The project proposes to (1) validate the activation of the MKK3-MPK1/2/7/14 sub-module by the new signals, (2) identify the upstream MAP3Ks, and (3) investigate the physiological implications of the crosstalk between those pathways, in particular how the nitrogen signaling can promote abiotic stress tolerance in plants. The final goal of the project is to investigate combined environmental stress conditions on plants to develop new strategies for sustainable agriculture.

Biography & research interests

I started my scientific career in the Institute of Phytopathology at the Agricultural faculty of the University of Gießen. I continued with the international Master program Agrobiotechnology. In 2011, I graduated and started my PhD studies in a project related to the molecular aspects of plant-defense-priming induced by bacterial communication molecules. The project included the analyses of cellular signaling events in plant defense such as Mitogenactivated protein kinase (MAPK) activity assays, the study of transcriptional reprogramming, the investigation of metabolic changes and analyses of cell-wall and stomata defense responses. In my PhD, I have deciphered a novel molecular mechanism in plant defense signaling. I received my doctorate in agricultural sciences end of 2014 and applied to an AgreenSkills fellowship. During my fellowship, I was a member of the stress reporting group in the Institute of Plant Sciences Paris-Saclay. My research project focused on molecular analyzes of cell signaling events during plant stress adaptation processes. In addition, one of my research goals was to apply this knowledge to crop plants in order to develop new strategies for sustainable agriculture. Currently, I am a senior Post Doc at the University of Freiburg, Germany, in the cell biology group and my research is focused on rhizobia-plant interactions.

Selected publications

Chardin C, Schenk ST, Hirt H, Colcombet J, Krapp A, 2017. Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases in nutritional signaling in Arabidopsis. Plant Sci., 260:101-108.

Schikora A, Schenk ST, Hartmann A, 2016. Beneficial effects of bacterial-plant communication based on quorum sensing molecules of the N-acyl homoserine lactone group. Plant Mol Biol.; 90(6):605-12.

Schenk ST and Schikora A. 2015. AHL-priming function via oxylipin and salicylic acid. Front Plant Sci. 14(5)784.

Hernández-Reyes C, Schenk ST, Neumann C, Kogel KH, Schikora A, 2014. N-acyl homoserine lactone-producing bacteria protect plants against plant and human pathogens. Microb Biotechnol. 7(6):580-588.

Schenk ST, Hernández-Reyes C, Samans B, Stein E, Neumann C, Schikora M, Reichelt M, Mithöfer A, Becker A, Kogel KH, Schikora A, 2014. N-Acyl-Homoserine Lactone Primes Plants for Cell Wall Reinforcement and Induces Resistance via the Salicylic Acid/Oxylipin Pathway. Plant Cell. 26: 2708-2723.


Talks in annual meetings


ABA, abiotic and biotic stresses, signal perception, MAPK module, stress combination, plant