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Christin Schulz

Doctoral Researcher, AG Voll
Philipps-University Marburg
Phone: +49 6421 28-22057

Project: Resolving the role of the Ustilago maydis transcription factor Nit2 during biotrophy and the dimorphic switch

Project summary:
The fungal biotroph Ustilago maydis causes galls on all aerial parts of the crop plant maize. Haploid sporidia of the basidiomycete grow saprotrophically until the perception of the host plant surface triggers the dimorphic switch, i.e. mating of compatible sporidia to form dikaryotic phytopathogenic filaments. The transcription factor Nit2 largely controls the utilization of non-favoured nitrogen sources in U. maydis sporidia, for which Nit2 target genes were previously identified [1]. My research addresses the role of Nit2 during pathogenic development. Two DUR3 urea transporters were identified as well as two amino acid transporters as Nit2 targets during biotrophy and I am now studying nitrogen metabolism in galls of Δnit2 and target gene mutants in steady state as well as by metabolic flux analyses after 15N labeling. Furthermore, to locate Nit2 in the transcriptional network during the dimorphic switch, an in locus Nit2-3xHA strain will be used to identify Nit2 interacting proteins by Co-Immunoprecipitation and Nit2 target promotors by ChromatinIP-Seq.

[1] Horst RJ, Zeh C, Sonnewald S, Sonnewald U, Voll LM. 2012. Eukaryot Cell 11, 368-380.

Cooperation with: Gert Bange (SYNMIKRO, UMR), Nicole Paczia (MPI-TM)