Plant Molecular Biology – Department of Biology - University of Copenhagen

Plant Molecular Biology

Innate Immunity

How do plants defend themselves against pathogens? A focus of this research is MAP kinase 4 (MPK4) which regulates two major pathways leading to disease resistance (Petersen et al. 2000 Cell 103, 1111 ). Our studies show that MPK4 functions downstream of innate immunity receptors via a nuclear substrate MKS1 (Andreasson et al. 2005 EMBO J. 24, 2579 ) to regulate the activity of the WRKY33 transcription factor which in turn controls the production of anti-microbial phytoalexins (Qiu et al. 2008 EMBO J. 27, 2214 ).

Wild type vs. MAP kinase 4 KO mutant








Programmed Cell Death

How do plant cells die? A focus here is the Accelerated Cell Death 11 mutant (acd11; Brodersen et al. 2002 Genes Dev. 16, 490) that constitutively expresses innate immunity genes accompanying the hypersensitive cell death response normally triggered by pathogens perceived by innate immun receptors. Our reverse and forward genetic studies identify pathways and genes required for cell death (Brodersen et al. 2005 Plant Physiol. 138, 1037; Olszak et al. 2005 Plant Sci. 170, 614).

Large-scale screen for PCD suppressors








Global stress tolerance in plants via self-eating mechanisms
Funded by the Danish research council, Technology and Production 2012-2014
Project home page

Natural resistance in GMO’s
Funded by the Danish Council for Strategic Research 2010-2014

Funded by the Danish research council, Nature and Universe 2012-2013


Our laboratories, part of the Biocenter in the University North Campus at Ole Maaloes Vej 5, contains facilities for molecular biology & protein purification, a full microscopy bay with bioluminescent imaging system & confocal microscopy, plant growth chambers, tissue culture facilities with particle gun, and classified greenhouses close by in the Botanic Garden.