Corné Pieterse

Induced systemic resistance (ISR) by beneficial microbiota

Non-pathogenic rhizobacteria live in or on plant roots and are able to help the plant to defend itself by activating a systemic, broad-spectrum plant immune response called rhizobacteria-induced systemic resistance (ISR). In the past decades we investigated the molecular mechanisms of how beneficial soil-borne rhizobacteria are able to stimulate the plant’s immune system, thereby protecting the plant against a broad spectrum of plant pathogens and even insect herbivores (Annual Review of Phytopathology 52: 347-375). In more recent years, we focused on the bi-directional communication that occurs along the microbiome-root-shoot axis in which we are interested in the plant-beneficial functions that are encoded by beneficial microbes in the root microbiome and the role of plant genes and metabolites (e.g. coumarins) that aid in maximizing profitable functions from the root microbiome (Trends in Plant Science 26: 169-183). With our research we aim to contribute to grand societal challenges, such as food security and sustainable agriculture.