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Plant Microbe Interaction: The Molecular Biology
Provider: Faculty of Science

Activity no.: 5715-23-09-31 
Enrollment deadline: 01/02/2023
PlaceDepartment of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Date and time06.02.2023, at: 09:00 - 29.03.2023, at: 17:00
Regular seats12
ECTS credits7.50
Contact personHans Thordal-Christensen    E-mail address: htc@plen.ku.dk
Enrolment Handling/Course OrganiserDavid B. Collinge    E-mail address: dbc@plen.ku.dk
Written languageEnglish
Teaching languageEnglish
Semester/BlockBlock 2
Block noteMondays 06.02 - 27.03.23> 13:00-17:00 & Wednesdays 08.02 - 29.03.23> 9:00-17:00 (8 weeks all in all). Exam Week (dates to be announced). Internal assessment of lecture and term paper.
Scheme groupC
Scheme group noteRuns in the period February to March, ad hoc. Topics chosen by agreement with the PhD students from the lectures held for the MSc course " Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions" - LBIK10202. The PhD student should attend minimum 50% of the lectures of the course for minimum 4 ECTS max 7. First time (06.02.23 at 13:00) in A2-11.01 (CSPC1)
Exam formWritten assignment
Exam detailsPreparation of lecture topic and term paper
Criteria for exam assessmentEvaluation of content of lecute prepared on a topic relevant to plant-microbe intereactions Evaluation of quality of term paper based on a different topic.
Course workload
Course workload categoryHours
Theory exercises30.00


This course uses individual topics from the MSc course "Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions - LBIK10202

This course provides an overview of the biology of host-microbe interactions at the molecular level, with a specific focus on pathogenic microorganisms. In addition to lectures and research article-driven learning, the course includes a series of simple experiments to provide hands-on experience, illustrates how the plant immune system works, and lays the foundation for understanding how plants stay free of disease.
Plant diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms are among the most important factors affecting quality and yield of crop plants – causing typically up to 20% losses.
An understanding the biology of plant microbe and microbe-microbe interactions gives an insight and inspiration for sustainable approaches for plant protection (UN development goal (UNDG) 2 and 17).
The rapid development of biotechnology in plant and microbial science is leading to enhanced knowledge of the physiology and molecular biology of plants, and of the crosstalk between microorganisms and plants both as individual organisms and as microbiomes – in combination: the holobiome. Disease resistance is the consequence of successful activation of plant’s immune system. Biological control of plant diseases is based on the exploitation of microbe-microbe interactions to suppress disease.
The study of these fundamental biological processes leads not only to the improvement of these environmentally-friendly strategies for disease control in plant production, but also to the discovery of molecules and genes with novel applications for industry.
This course addresses several UN development goals by providing knowledge which can be used to improve agricultural efficiency (UNDG 2 and 13 by using microbiomes to improved resilience to abiotic stress) and product quality (UNDG 3 by, e.g., reducing mycotoxin contamination).
Topics covered include:
Diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi and oomycetes and their infection strategies exhibiting, necrotrophic, biotrophic and hemibiotrophic lifestyles, symbionts. Toxins and detoxification, tissue destruction.
Pattern-Triggered Immunity (PTI) and Effector-Triggered Immunity (ETI), pathogen effectors and their interplay with ETI, Plant immune signalling pathways (MAP kinases, salicylic acid, pipecolic acid, jasmonic acid, etc).
Execution of immunity (antimicrobial specialised metabolites, cell wall, antimicrobial proteins, membrane trafficking, hypersensitive response)
Application of biotechnological tools, including genomics (NGT), transcriptomics, molecular genetics, gene editing (e.g. CRISPR-Cas9) and gene silencing (PTGS, HIGS etc)
Disease resistance through transgenic plants, new strategies for resistance breeding

Learning outcome
The course gives an understanding of the biology of plant-microbe interactions at the molecular level.
After completing the course the student should be able to:
>Give an overview of the mechanisms by which plants respond and protect themselves against pathogens.
>List cellular signal transduction mechanisms in plants and microorganisms.
>Describe the molecular mechanisms used by pathogens for overcoming host defences.
>Have an understanding of the continuum from mutualistic symbiosis to necrotrophy.

>Explain how the above topics are studied experimentally including the use of ’omics technologies and molecular genetics.
>Interpret primary data from research articles relating to these molecular interactions and apply the knowledge to new situations in biology.
>Obtain basic experimental skills in studying plant immunity.

>Discuss the potential of biotechnological and plant breeding technologies for developing disease resistant plants
>Consider the ethical aspects of the use of different approaches (e.g. transgenic, new genomic technologies, biological control) for disease problems associated with plant protection and to put these into perspective.
>See the potential for industrial processes using novel molecules derived from plant-microbe interactions.
>Critical approach to digital scientific information searches incl. reference management.

Tronsmo AM, Collinge DB, Djurle A, Munk L, Yuen J, Tronsmo A (2020) Plant Pathology and Plant Diseases 440 pp CABI International, Wallingford.
https:/ / www.cabi.org/ bookshop/ book/ 9781789243178/
ISBN 9781789243178
Review articles and primary literature.
Further information will be available on Absalon.

Teaching and learning methods
Active participation in timetabled lectures and colloquia.

Academic qualifications:
To be enrolled in a relevant PhD programme
UCPH discloses non-sensitive personal data to course leader/speakers, if any. In addition, we will disclose non-sensitive personal data to the other participants in the course. Non-sensitive personal data includes names, job positions, institution names & addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.

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