Wiebke Häger

   Department of Insect Symbiosis
   Molecular Biology of the Insect Digestive System
 Phone:+49 (0)3641 57 1557Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
 Fax:-Hans-Knöll-Straße 8
  emailD-07745 Jena

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Current Research (PhD Thesis):

Adaptation of the Phaedon cochleariae pectolytic system to plant-derived inhibitors

The herbivorous mustard leaf beetle Phaedon cochleariae feeds on brassicaceous plants and possesses various carbohydrases for the digestion of plant cell wall polysaccharides. Amongst those, polygalacturonases (PGs) of the glycoside hydrolase family 28 (GH28) facilitate the breakdown of the cell wall polysaccharide pectin. Several plant-derived, cell wall-associated PG-inhibiting proteins (PGIPs), containing multiple leucine-rich repeat (LRR) motifs, are known to inhibit microbial PGs and thus contribute to the plant defence against phytopathogenic fungi and bacteria. Both PGs and PGIPs belong to multi-gene families that are believed to be shaped by an evolutionary arms-race.

Besides intact PGIPs, several inactive PG family members were detected in the P. cochleariae gut and PG activity was observed for the beetle gut content. Kirsch et al. (2014) stated that “catalytically inactive proteins may act as “decoy” targets for PGIPs, thus protecting the active PGs from inhibition”.

My PhD project focusses on the identification and characterization of PGIPs inhibiting beetle PGs and the elucidation of the role of inactive PG family members in beetle-plant-interactions.
last updated on 2017-09-08