PHP-30306 Plant-Microbe Interactions


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work2
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. MHAJ Joosten
Lecturer(s)dr. M Seidl
dr. JAL van Kan
dr. ir. MHAJ Joosten
prof. dr. ir. FPM Govers
prof. dr. ir. BPHJ Thomma
Examiner(s)dr. ir. MHAJ Joosten

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

PHP-30806 Molecular Aspects of Bio-Interactions; ENT-30306 Ecological Aspects of Bio-Interactions.


The course focuses on the physiological, biochemical, molecular-genetic and ecological aspects of interactions between plants, pathogenic microbes (bacteria, fungi and oomycetes) and beneficial microorganisms.
The following topics are discussed:
- the role of microbial gene products (effectors) and metabolites in pathogenesis;
- the role of microbial gene products and metabolites in microbial interactions;
- monogenic and polygenic resistance of plants to pathogenic microbes;
- perception of microbial effector (elicitor) molecules by plants;
- signal transduction in the plant leading to local and systemic defence responses;
- reproduction, survival, dispersal and competition in microbial communities.
Experiments in the practical course illustrate aspects of the theory.

Learning outcomes:

After the course the students:
- will have acquired insight into the molecular basis of interactions between plants and microbes (bacteria, fungi and oomycetes);
- will have acquired insight in the role of microbial interactions in the biology and ecology of pathogens;
- will be able to demonstrate detailed understanding of how resistance proteins function in defending plants from microbial pathogens;
- will be able to perform basic experiments that are aimed at studying plant-microbe interactions;
- will be able to present a specialized case study to an audience;
- will be able to write a report about the aims, setup and outcome of an experiment.


The course consists of different theoretical and practical elements:
- lectures dealing with defined pathosystems (bacteria, fungi, oomycetes) or with interactions between pathogenic or beneficial microbes and plants;
- case studies of pre-selected recent publications; oral presentation of publication;
- practical course.


- written exam with four open questions (each consisting of four to ten sub-questions) (50%)
- report of practical (25%);
- literature presentation (25%).
Each component needs a minimum of 5.5 to pass the exam.


Reader available at the WUR-shop.

Restricted Optional for: MBIBiologyMScC: Molecular Ecology6WD
MPSPlant SciencesMScE: Plant Pathology and Entomology6WD
MPBPlant BiotechnologyMScC: Molecular Plant Breeding and Pathology6WD
Restricted Optional for: WUEPSBSc Minor Experimental Plant Sciences6WD