The Laboratory of Plant-Microbe Interactions (LIPM), created in 1981, is a combined INRA-CNRS Research Unit, attached to the CNRS Institutes of Biological Sciences (INSB) and Ecology & Environment (INEE), as well as to the INRA Departments of Plant Health & Environment (SPE) and Genetics & Plant Breeding (GAP).
From the outset, the LIPM has focused its research on the interactions between plants and either symbiotic or pathogenic microbes, co-ordinating studies on both plant and microbial partners. This research is performed using a small number of model species (Arabidopsis thaliana, Medicago truncatula), and more recently model plants of agronomic importance such as sunflower and tomato.
These studies allow us to address key biological questions concerning the determinants which control pathogenic/symbiotic associations, the mechanisms of host infection, inter- and intra-organism signaling, developmental programs, regulation of gene expression and finally the mechanisms of metabolic adaptation. Bacterial and plant genome organization is also a theme that we are actively studying using both bioinformatic and genomic approaches.
New research topics at the LIPM are aimed at understanding evolutionary and adaptative processes, and in particular concerning host specificity and the relationship between mutualism and pathogenesis.
The LIPM addresses scientific questions which have a major impact on agriculture and the environment. In the long-term, our research aims to provide new concepts and tools in the struggle against bio-agressors. Symbiotic interactions play an essential role in the provision of essential nutrients to legume plants, the importance of which is now being rediscovered in agronomical, economical, environmental and nutritional contexts.
The LIPM is part of a Research Federation (FR 3450, ex IFR 40, Agrobiosciences, Interactions, Biodiversity), which brings together the principle plant biology and ecology laboratories in the Toulouse area, mainly located on the INRA campus at Auzeville.
The LIPM is also a key component of the LabEx (Laboratory of Excellence) TULIP (Toward a unified theory of biotic interactions: role of environnemental perturbations) aiming at establishing high quality research and education in the field of ecology and plant biology in the French Midi-Pyrénées region.