Yasin Dagdas

The role of autophagy in plant development and stress tolerance

The Dagdas group is currently accepting applications for Postdoctoral Fellows. For further information please contact Yasin Dagdas directly. PhD Students are also being sought; students should apply directly through the VBC PhD Programme

Research Focus

Our group is interested in understanding the role of autophagy in plant development and stress tolerance at a cell type specific resolution. Below you can find a short description of our research program. 

The term ‘autophagy’ is a misnomer. The name implies that autophagy is only about macromolecule degradation. However, it is now well established that autophagy is a membrane trafficking process that is fundamental to all eukaryotic cells and is essential for various biological functions. A subset of autophagic cargoes end up in the vacuole and get recycled, but many others are involved in exocytosis, vesicle trafficking etc. Contrary to dogma, autophagy is also highly selective. A ubiquitin-like protein called ATG8 interacts with autophagy receptors that decode autophagy signals and, overall, ensure specificity. Since autophagy is required for cellular survival, the rules of this ATG8 code remain an outstanding question in biology. Plants provide a great platform to mechanistically study selective autophagy because the ATG8 gene family is rapidly evolving and expanded. Using Arabidopsis roots and Marchantia as the main experimental systems, our long-term goal is to decipher mechanistic underpinnings of autophagy. Our objectives are to:

(i) determine how selective autophagy is interwoven into plant endomembrane trafficking 

(ii) defining autophagy interaction networks within and between plant families

(iii) discovering novel cargo receptors that decrypt the ATG8 code

(iv) elucidate the evolution of the ATG8 code in plants 

To meet our objectives, we will pursue a multidisciplinary approach where we will interpret mechanistic studies through a robust evolutionary framework. We will combine cell type specific genetic analyses with cutting edge cell biology, biochemistry and structural biology tools. We will complement these tools with genomic resources to document and functionally characterize natural variation of autophagy networks in plants. 

Selected Publications

Maqbool A, Hughes RK, Dagdas YF, et al. (2016) Structural Basis of Host Autophagy-related Protein 8 (ATG8) Binding by the Irish Potato Famine Pathogen Effector Protein PexRD54. J Biol Chem 291(38):20270-82.

Belhaj K, Cano LM, Prince DC, et al. (2016) Arabidopsis late blight: infection of a nonhost plant by Albugo laibachii enables full colonization by Phytophthora infestans. Cell Microbiol [epub]

Dagdas YF, Belhaj K, Maqbool A, et al. (2016) An effector of the Irish potato famine pathogen antagonizes a host autophagy cargo receptor. Elife e10856.

Dagdas YF, Bozkurt TO (2015) Fungal Sex Receptors Recalibrated to Detect Host Plants. Cell Host Microbe 18(6):637-8.

Gupta YK, Dagdas YF, Martinez-Rocha AL, et al. (2015) Septin-Dependent Assembly of the Exocyst Is Essential for Plant Infection by Magnaporthe oryzae. Plant Cell 27(11):3277-89.

Giraldo MC, Dagdas YF, Gupta YK, et al. (2013) Two distinct secretion systems facilitate tissue invasion by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. Nat Commun 4:1996.

Ryder LS, Dagdas YF, Mentlak TA, et al. (2013) NADPH oxidases regulate septin-mediated cytoskeletal remodeling during plant infection by the rice blast fungus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110(8):3179-84.

Dagdas YF, Yoshino K, Dagdas G, et al. (2012) Septin-mediated plant cell invasion by the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae. Science 336(6088):1590-5.

Gregor Mendel Institute of
Molecular Plant Biology GmbH

Dr. Bohr-Gasse 3
1030 Vienna, Austria

T: +43 1 79044-9000
F: +43 1 79044-9001
E: office(at)gmi.oeaw.ac.at