Principal Investigators

Prof. Dr. Thomas Ott

Prof. Dr. Thomas Ott


Prof. Dr. Thomas Ott
Institute of Biology II – Plant Cell Biology (Faculty of Biology)
University of Freiburg

T +49 761 203 2673

Further Information


Legume plants have the pretty unique ability to undergo a symbiotic interaction with soil-born bacteria, commonly called rhizobia. In this host-driven process, rhizobia infect the root system via membrane-encapsulated tunnels, called infection threads, that progress transcellularly through several cell layers until they reach specialized cells in a newly developing organ, the nodule. In our CIBSS project, we aim to understand the molecular recognition of the symbiotic partners and infection related pathways triggered downstream of the receptor-based perception. Here, we mainly focus on the assembly of receptor clusters in membrane nanodomains, the role of molecular scaffold proteins in this process and the possible transfer of such spatially confined signaling entities to non-host plants.

Albert Einstein

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science

10 selected publications:

  • Formin-mediated bridging of cell wall, plasma membrane, and cytoskeleton in symbiotic infections of Medicago truncatula
    Liang P, Schmitz C, Lace B, Ditengou FA, Su C, Schulze E, Knerr J, Grosse R, Keller J, Libourel C, Delaux PM, Ott T (2021)
    Current Biology; 31(12): 2712-2719
  • Establishment of Proximity-dependent Biotinylation Approaches in Different Plant Model Systems
    Arora D, Abel NB, Liu C, Van Damme P*, Vu LD, Tornkvist A, Impens F, Eeckhout D, Goossens A, De Jaeger G*, Ott T*, Moschou P*, Van Damme D* (2020)
    Plant Cell; 32: 3388-3407
  • Optogenetic control of gene expression in plants in the presence of ambient white light
    Ochoa-Fernandez R, Abel NB, Wieland FG, Schlegel J, Koch LA, Miller LB, Engesser R, Giuriani G, Brandl SM, Timmer J, Weber W, Ott T, Simon R, Zurbriggen MD (2020)
    Nature Methods; 17: 717–725
  • The Medicago truncatula DREPP protein triggers microtubule fragmentation in membrane nanodomains during symbiotic infections
    Su C, Klein ML, Hernandez-Reyes C, Batzenschlager M, Ditengou FA, Lace B, Keller J, Delaux PM, Ott T (2020)
    Plant Cell; 32 (5): 1357-1358
  • The nanoscale organization of the plasma membrane and its importance in signaling – a proteolipid perspective
    Jaillais Y and Ott T (2020)
    Plant Physiology; 182: 1682-1696
  • Symbiotic root infections in Medicago truncatula require remorin-mediated receptor stabilization in membrane nanodomains
    Liang P, Stratil TF, Popp C, Marin M, Folgmann J, Mysore KS, Wen J, Ott T (2018).
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 115 (20) 5289-5294
  • Plant immune and growth receptors share common signalling components but localise to distinct plasma membrane nanodomains.
    Bücherl CA, Jarsch IK, Schudoma C, Segonzac C, Mbengue M, Robatzek S, MacLean D, Ott T, Zipfel C (2017).
    eLife 6:e25114..
  • Plasma membranes are subcompartmentalized into a plethora of coexisting and diverse microdomains in Arabidopsis and Nicotiana benthamiana.
    Jarsch IK, Konrad SSA, Stratil TF, Urbanus SL, Szymanski W, Braun P, Braun KH and Ott T (2014).
    Plant Cell 26, 1698-1711.
  • A remorin protein interacts with symbiotic receptors and regulates bacterial infection.
    Lefebvre B, Timmers T, Mbengue M, Moreau S, Hervé C, Tóth K, Bittencourt-Silvestre J, Klaus D, Deslandes L, Godiard L, Murray JD, Udvardi MK, Raffaele S, Mongrand S, Cullimore J, Gamas P, Niebel A, Ott T (2010).
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 107, 2343-8.
  • Remorin, a Solanaceae protein resident in membrane rafts and plasmodesmata, impairs Potato virus X movement.
    Raffaele S, Bayer E, Lafarge D, Cluzet S, German Retana S, Boubekeur T, Leborgne-Castel N, Carde JP, Lherminier J, Noirot E, Satiat-Jeunemaître B, Laroche-Traineau J, Moreau P, Ott T, Maule AJ, Reymond P, Simon-Plas F, Farmer EE, Bessoule JJ, Mongrand S (2009).
    Plant Cell 21, 1541-55.