Project C05


Dr. Mariana Schuster

Leibniz Institute for Plant Biochemistry (IPB)
Receptor Biochemistry


Dr. Christian Ihling

MLU Halle-Wittenberg
Institute of Pharmacy


Impact of natural allelic variation on structure and function of the immune proteases SAP1 and SAP2

Plant diseases caused by pathogens pose significant threats to ecosystem health and crop productivity globally.  Plants have evolved an intricate immune system to combat these pathogens, including mechanisms to directly suppress their growth. Engineering plant responses offers a sustainable solution for crop protection, with direct growth suppression mechanisms being particularly promising due to minimal impact on plant growth. Arabidopsis secreted aspartic proteases (SAP1 and SAP2) have been identified as effective inhibitors of the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae by cleaving the conserved bacterial protein MucD. These proteases are conserved across plant species and are promising targets for protease engineering in crop protection. This project aims to understand how discrete amino acid changes affect protease function and structure by studying natural variations in Arabidopsis SAP genes. Methods include heterologous expression, purification, and characterization of different proteoforms, as well as assessing their efficacy in bacterial growth suppression and substrate specificity. Structural analysis based on structural mass spectrometry (cross-linking MS, hydrogen-deuterium exchange and native MS) and computational modeling will provide insights into structure-function relationships and guide rational design of these proteases for crop protection.

Free positions in C05

PhD position, TV-L E13, 65% – Plant Expertise
TASKS // Protein expression and purification in E. coli and N. benthamiana, complementation of Arabidopsis mutants and phenotypic characterization (resistance to bacterial infection), biochemical characterization of proteases, antibacterial assays
WORK PLACE // Leibniz Institute for Plant Biochemistry (IPB) Halle, Receptor Biochemistry
PI // Mariana Schuster
Job advertisement // 04.06.2024 – Project C05

PhD position, TV-L E13, 65% – Protein Expertise
TASKS // Protein structural MS and MS data analysis, additional: Protein expression in E. coli and protein purification
WORK PLACE // Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Institute of Pharmacy
PI // Christian Ihling
Job advertisement // Reg.-Nr. 5-5516-24-D

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