Ongoing projects

Regulatory mechanisms of cell wall-bound flavan-3-ol compounds in ectomycorrhizal symbiosis.

Flavan-3-ols are the building blocks of oligomeric and polymeric proanthocyanidin (Condensed tannin). These naturally occurring compounds are ubiquitous in woody plants. While the biosynthesis of flavan-3-ols is well understood, its biological role in plant’s life is relatively less explored. Growing evidence indicates that flavan-3-ols contains antimicrobial properties and plants are likely to use such compounds to protect from fungal pathogens. Trees found in boreal forests like pine and poplar are rich Flavan-3-ols present in leaves and roots and such trees commonly form symbiotic association ectomycorrhizal fungi.  Thus, in this project, we are investigating the regulatory role of cell wall-bound flavan-3-ol compounds in ectomycorrhizal symbiosis.

Key tools and approaches:

Whole-genome transcriptome analysis, flavan-3-ol-specific fluorescent dye characterization, confocal microscopy, enzyme activity measurement, PA transgenic poplar, metabolite profiling.

Associated researchers:

Judith Lundberg-Felten (PI), Jamil Chowdhury (Co-PI, Planning and implementation), Benedicte Albrectsen (Co-PI, collaborator), Peter Constabel (CoPI, Collaborator), Jannatul Ferdous (Planning and implementation) and Jenna Lihavainen (Collaborator).