During the course of evolution, plants have been exposed to a plethora of beneficial and pathogenic microbes. While symbionts are beneficial for the host plant by improving nutrient supply and health, pathogens are reprogramming their host only for their own benefit. At the interface of this interaction proteomes at both sides are highly flexible and require regulated protein turnover. In line with this, our previous work revealed that regulated protein degradation by autophagy is an essential player in plant immunity. Consequently, plant pathogens hijack autophagy during binary interactions though in contrasting manners. However, in a more complete scenario, plants are constantly exposed to different microbes and hence it is crucial to include the microbial diversity into this equation to obtain a holistic picture of the role of autophagy in plant-microbe interactions. The picture is getting even more complex if we look at the cellular diversity on the host side. Thus, DIVERSIPHAGY approaches the role of autophagy through bacterial and cellular diversity on the host side. We aim to address following questions:
• Identifying how the bacterial diversity impacts autophagy and vice versa
• Determining new bacteria and/or bacterial communities hijacking autophagy
• Revealing the autophagy degradome and novel autophagy factors by utilizing autophagy-modulating bacteria
• Identifying tissue and cell-type specific modulation of autophagy by diverse bacteria.
With DIVERSIPHAGY we will reveal the holistic picture of the role of autophagy in plant-microbe interactions using a mixture of state-of-the-art approaches including metabolomics, proteomics, single-cell transcriptomics and cell-type specific reverse genetic screens. As such DIVERSIPHAGY is the next generation approach to understand the role of plant autophagy in plant-microbe interactions and by translating our results into crop plants we will be able to develop more durable resistances toward destructive pathogens.
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