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new PhD projects are offered in BIOGER.

The BIOGER unit offers several thesis projects on plant pathogenic fungi

The BIOGER unit offers several thesis projects on plant pathogenic fungi. Candidates will have to pass the SEVE Doctoral School competition which will take place in early June (
Interested students should contact us as soon as possible and no later than 8 May 2022.

Role of cyclic peptides in the infectious process of phytopathogenic fungi

Contacts: and

Recommended training: molecular biology, phytopathology. Other valued skills: microbiology, chemistry.

Plant pathogenic fungi produce so-called "secondary" or "specialised" metabolites, some of which act as phytotoxins that kill host cells or effectors that manipulate the plant's defence mechanisms. Fungal Ribosomally synthesized and Post-translationally modified Peptides (RiPPs) have nevertheless been little explored in the context of plant-pathogen interactions.  Thus, the aim of the thesis project is to understand the role that these RiPPs play in the infectious process of two fungal species that are both pathogenic toward Arabidopsis thaliana but that have different infectious strategies: the necrotrophic species Botrytis cinerea and the hemibiotrophic species Colletotrichum higginsianum. By using genomics, molecular biology, functional genetics, microscopy and chemistry approaches, the project aims to answer the following questions: (1) What are the repertoires of genes involved in the biosynthesis of these cyclic peptides within fungal genomes? (2) Which of these genes are involved in the infectious process? And at what stage of the infection? (3) What are the chemical structures of the RiPPs produced? and finally, (4) What are their biological activities and what role(s) do they play in the interaction with the host plant?


Toward the understanding of the in vivo mode of action of the 4-phenylbutyric acid, a promising biocontrol molecule with antifungal properties toward Zymoseptoria tritici

Contacts : et

Recommended training: plant protection, phytopathology. Other valued skills: bioinformatics, microbiology, plant physiology.

The molecule 4-phenylbutyric acid (4-PBA) is a small organic compound that possesses a bacteriostatic activity. Its antifungal activity towards twelve ascomycete and two oomycete species has been recently characterized and was patented in 2020 by AgroParisTech and INRAE. In the context of an increasing need of biocontrol methods, 4-PBA may represent a novel, unique option in that it displays not only a strong fungicide potential with a broad spectrum of action, but also a suspected activity of plant defense stimulation towards fungi. This double activity might therefore guarantee its sustainability. Nonetheless, its mode-of-action still remains unclear at the molecular level, like many other bio-fungicides. Deciphering these underlying molecular mechanisms in both plants and fungi may not only improve the future use of 4-PBA, but also help assessing the risks associated with possible appearance of pathogen resistance, allowing the pro-active prevention of resistance and development of diagnostic tools. This project thus aims at (i) elucidating the direct molecular mode-of-action of 4-PBA in the model phytopathogenic fungus Zymoseptoria tritici, using original live cell imaging, omics and biochemical approaches, (ii) confirming, deciphering and optimizing the plant defense stimulation activity of 4-PBA in wheat plants infected with Z. tritici (indirect mode of action). This project will pave the way for future academic research on 4-PBA-like family of compounds in plants and fungi and will contribute to the technical development of 4-PBA as a potential broad-spectrum biocontrol antifungal.