Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse – Københavns Universitet

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Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse

Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions

Practical information
Study year 2016/2017
Block 2
Programme level Full Degree Master
Course responsible
  • Mari-Anne Newman (4-7064756c43736f6871316e7831676e)
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Course number: LBIK10202U

Course content

This course provides an overview of the biology of host-microbe interactions at the molecular level. Plant diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms are among the most important factors affecting quality and yield of crop plants. Resistance is a biological and environmentally-friendly form of plant protection depending on natural, biological defence in plants against pathogenic micro-organisms. The rapid development of biotechnology in plant science is leading to enhanced knowledge of the physiology and molecular biology of plants, and of the crosstalk between microorganisms and plants. The study of these fundamental biological processes leads not only to the improvement of strategies for disease control in plant production, but also to the discovery of molecules and genes with novel applications for industry.

Topics covered include:

- Bacterial pathogenicity and pathogenicity mutants; fungal pathogenicity: toxins and tissue destruction; microbial trophic strategies e.g. biotrophy, necrotrophy; symbiotic and virus interactions with plants.
- Molecular and biochemical basis of plant defence mechanisms, disease resistance including secondary metabolites and antimicrobial proteins. Disease resistance through transgenic plants, new strategies for resistance breeding.
- Genomics, microarrays and virus-induced silencing (VIGS).
- Genetic basis of disease resistance. Plant immunity, effector molecules. Mechanisms of hypersensitive reactions (HR).
- Induced resistance, Elicitation and Signal transduction pathways.
- Mutants in Arabidopsis: how to understand signal transduction pathways in plant defences.
- Counter adaptations: suppressors and detoxification of secondary metabolites.
- Symbiosis
- Microbial stress tolerance.

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.
-Interpret primary data from research articles relating to these molecular interactions and apply the knowledge to new situations in biology.

-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) 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.

Recommended prerequisites

Knowledge of Molecular Biology, Genetics and Microbiology

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MSc Programme in Agriculture
MSc Programme in Biology-Biotechnology


Study Board of Natural Resources and Environment

Course type

Single subject courses (day)


1 block


---- SKEMA LINK ----

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, journal clubs, colloquia


No limitation




Review articles and primary literature


Category Hours
Lectures 40
Theory exercises 18
Preparation 104
Colloquia 40
Exam 4
English 206


Type of assessment

Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
Written examination in lecture hall


Written aids allowed

Marking scale

7-point grading scale

Criteria for exam assessment

Written Exam (4 hours), Weight: 100%

Censorship form

No external censorship
One internal examiner


Oral exam if less than 10 students registred
Mere information om kurset
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