Core funding to the Dangl Lab is provided by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Our core funding supports all the projects detailed below. In addition, it allows us to investigate how plant microbiomes are organized in the presence of a sophisticated immune system Our ultimate goal is to use plant and microbial genetics and genomics to determine the underlying factors that determine specific community associations with plant roots. The Dangl Lab is focused on three main topic areas that aim to answer the following long term questions:
- What is the mechanism of intracellular NLR receptor activation and how do these proteins function to anchor the plant immune system?
- What is the diversity of pathogen virulence factors (effectors), and does effector diversity collapse onto limited, key host targets?
- How does the plant communicate with growth promoting microbes and differentiate these from pathogens in complex plant-associated microbial communities?
Current federally funded projects are:
Structure-function analyses of plant NLR receptors.
Our project aims to understand particular mechanistic exemplars that span the wide gamut of NLR modularity in order to illuminate the core principles underlying NLR activation. We focus on the paradigmatic NLR sensor RPM1 and its ‘guardee’ RIN4, the ‘helper’ NLRs of the ARD1 and NRG1 families, and the novel TIR-domain only protein RBA1.
The intersection of development and innate immune system function in Arabidopsis.
NIH 2-RO1GM107444, 09/01/17-08/31/21
This proposal focuses on the dissection of a plant immune system signaling network that is repeatedly targeted by effectors from pathogens from three kingdoms. We will determine whether the host proteins targeted by multiple pathogen effectors have functions in disease resistance responses, with a particular emphasis on the sub-network featuring a set of transcription factors, called TCPs that regulate normal development.
Systems analysis of the physiological and molecular mechanisms of sorghum Nitrogen use efficiency, water use efficiency, and interactions with the soil microbiome.
DOE-BER- 0000217779, 08/15/15-07/31/20
This project, headed by Daniel Schachtman and the Univ. of Nebraska, will utilize multiple interdisciplinary approaches in varied settings to establish a foundational, systems-level understanding of plant, microbial, and environmental interactions that will lead to strategies for enhancing sorghum growth and sustainability through genetic and microbial adaptations to water- and nitrogen limited environments. The Dangl lab will develop Setaria as a suitable model for microbiome studies.
The transparent soil microcosm: a window into the spatial distribution and dynamics of carbon utilization and microbial interspecies interactions.
DOE-BER-0000217519, 09/01/15-08/31/18 (currently in one year extension)
This project, a collaboration with Beth Shank’s lab at UNC, is in response to an FOA for technology development for microbial energy sciences. Dangl’s lab will use transparent soil microcosms to analyze early colonization events in the assembly of the root microbiome using confocal microscopy.
Defining the Organizational Principles of Microbial Communities Colonizing Plant Roots.
NSF INSPIRE Track 2 L02382657, 02/01/14-01/31/17 (currently in second year extension)
This project develops microcosm re-colonization as a robust experimental platform to understand the organizational principles of the root microbiome. The goals of this collaborative project, with partners at UNC, UCSD and DOE-JGI, are to isolate root endophytes and study their ability to re-colonize roots, sequence their genomes, model the results of re-colonization schemes to develop predictive models of colonization, to use metatranscriptomics to understand how re-colonization with communities of increasing complexity alters both microbial gene expression and host plant gene expression, and to study the small molecules that signal between microbial isolates and between these microbes and the host using 2D MALDI-TOF MS.