ViPS Invited Seminar February 2024

Silke Robatzek, Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich, Germany

Date: 14th February 2024

Time: 13:00

Title: Xylella fastidiosa’s relationships: the bacterium, the host plants, and the plant microbiome

Location: Auditorium K110, Viikki C building, Latokartanonkaari 5

Host: Maija Sierla

Abstract: Plants have an innate immune system that detects and controls bacterial infection. Xylella fastidiosa is a non-flagellated Gram-negative bacterium and the causal agent of important crop diseases, including the olive quick decline syndrome. The insect-transmitted bacterium colonizes xylem vessels and can persist with a commensal or pathogen lifestyle in more than 500 plant species. In the past decade, reports of X. fastidiosa across the globe have dramatically increased its known occurrence. This raises important questions: How does X. fastidiosa, being in xylem vessels, interact with the plant immune system? How does the bacterium achieve colonization? How does it influence the host’s microbiome? To address these questions, we explore Arabidopsis thaliana as a genetic model host of X. fastidiosa and develop tools to study the immune system of resistant and susceptible olive cultivars. I will discuss pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), potential immunomodulatory effectors of X. fastidiosa, and the identification of microbiome isolates involved in limiting X. fastidiosa’s infection success.

Silke is a Heisenberg Professor at the Ludwig-Maximilian-University (LMU) Munich, supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). Her research focuses on molecular plant-microbe interactions, having published on immune receptor signaling and trafficking. She holds a doctoral degree in Biochemistry (University of Cologne, Germany) and a Habilitation in Plant Cell Biology (University of Basel, Switzerland). In 2001 she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland. In 2006, she obtained a group leader position at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, before moving to the the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK (2009-2018). She has previously been awarded an ERC Starting Grant (2012), and currently holds an ERC Advanced Grant (2019). Her team now examines how plants interact with vascular pathogens and investigates novel bacterial infection strategies.

Read more about Silke's work


Related publications:
  1. Landa, B.B., Saponari, M., Feitosa-Junior, O., Giampetruzzi, A., Vieira, F., Mor, E. and Robatzek, S.  (2022). Xylella fastidiosa’s relationships: The bacterium, the host plants and the plant microbiome. New Phytol. 234: 1598-1605.


  1. Mitre, L.K., Sousa Teixeira-Silva, N., Rybak, K., Magalhães, M., Rodrigues de Souza-Neto, R., Robatzek, S., Zipfel, C. and Alves de Souza, A. (2021). The Arabidopsis immune receptor EFR increases resistance to the bacterial pathogens Xanthomonas and Xylella in transgenic sweet orange. Plant Biotechnol J. 19: 1294-1296.


  1. Janda, M., Rybak*, K., Krassini*, L., Meng, C., Feitosa-Junior, O., Stigliano, E., Szulc, B., Sklenar, J., Menke, F.L.H., Malone, J.G., Brachmann, A., Klingl, A., Ludwig, C. and Robatzek, S. (2023). Biophysical and proteomic analyses suggest functions of Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato DC3000 extracellular vesicles in bacterial growth during plant infection. mBio: e0358922.