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Laboratory of Plant-Microbe Interactions - LIPM

Laboratory of Plant-Microbe Interactions

Members - Symbiotic functions, genome and evolution of rhizobia

Dr. Catherine Masson-Boivin, HDR, DR1 INRA, group leader

Catherine Masson

Catherine did her PhD at the LIPM in Jean Dénarié’s lab where she studied the genetic basis of Sinorhizobium meliloti plant compound catabolism. She was recruited as a scientist at IRD (Research Institute for Development) and spent 7 years in Dakar, Western Africa. Her work focussed on rhizobia, nodulation genes and Nod factor diversity (association studies). She then moved back to France, in Montpellier (LSTM) where she discovered β-proteobacteria able to nodulate legumes (now called β-rhizobia). Catherine re-joined the LIPM in 2003 as an INRA member, where she set up her own research group that she co-directed with Jacques Batut during several years. She selected Cupriavidus taiwanensis as a β-rhizobium model and completely sequenced its genome in collaboration with the Genoscope. More recently, she has launched a real-time evolution experiment aiming at evolving a non-symbiotic bacterium, the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum, into a legume symbiont.

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Dr. Jacques Batut, HDR, DR1 INRA

Jacques BATUT

Jacques obtained a PhD in Microbiology from the University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse in 1984. He was then recruited at the French Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) to work on the Medicago symbiont Sinorhizobiummeliloti first on the regulation of nitrogen fixation gene expression and, more recently, on the genetic control of plant infection. His main achievements, in collaboration with many colleagues in Toulouse and overseas, include the identification of one of the first two-component regulatory system in bacteria (the FixLJ system of S. meliloti), the sequencing of the S. meliloti genome, one of the first elucidated rhizobium genome at that time, and the development of transcriptomic tools for this bacterium. More recently, Jacques’focus has turned to cyclic nucleotide signalling and its contribution to symbiosis and, together with C. Masson-Boivin, the evolution of symbiotic properties in rhizobia. Jacques spent a sabbatical year together with Prof. S. Kustu at UC Berkeley (1989-1990) to work on the in vitro manipulation of two-component regulatory proteins.

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Dr. Delphine Capela, HDR, CRCN CNRS

Delphine CAPELA

During her PhD, Delphine brought a major contribution to the sequencing and expert annotation of the genome of the model rhizobium Sinorhizobium meliloti. When she joined the CNRS in the group of Jacques Batut’s in 2002 she pursued the work on the postgenomics of S. meliloti in deciphering the transcriptome of S. meliloti during the symbiotic process and in free living conditions. Microarray was at that time the most powerful tool to study microbial transcriptomes. More recently, in collaboration with other groups in the lab, Delphine revisited the transcriptome of S. meliloti during symbiosis with Medicago truncatula using deep sequencing of RNAs. In 2008, the main research work of Delphine switched to the experimental evolution project which aims at converting a non-symbiotic bacterium into a legume symbiont. In this project, she is managing the production of evolved populations and clones and is seeking for adaptive mutations responsible for the improvement of the symbiotic properties of experimentally evolved strains.

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Dr. Marta Marchetti, CRCN INRA

Marta MARCHETTI

Marta did her PhD thesis at the University of Padue, Italia, on the development of an animal model for the infection of the human pathogen Helicobacter pylori. She then moved to the Pasteur Institute in Paris in the Eric Pringault’s group as a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow, where she studied the interaction of Shigella with gut cells. At the same time, she evolved a major interest for cellular biology focusing on the molecular mechanisms responsible of cell differentiation in the human Barrett’s syndrome. She then joined the group of Ludger Johannes at the Curie Institute in Paris where she started a project on the dynamics of membrane and vesicles trafficking in eukaryotic cells following IFNα and IFNγ internalization. In 2005, Marta joined LIPM as permanent INRA researcher. Since then, she is involved in the experimental evolution project of the group. Her current research is focusing on the phenotypic characterization of evolved clones by combining cell biology (high throughput image analysis) to genetic approaches.

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Anne-Marie Garnerone, IE INRA

Anne-Marie GARNERONNE

Anne-Marie obtained a Master 2 in Microbiology from the University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, in 1982. She was then recruited at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA). Her work on Sinorhizobium meliloti was to study the nitrogen fixation genes and the regulators implicated in signal transduction. Now she is involved in the study of cyclic cAMP signaling and its role in the control of infection during the symbiosis between S. meliloti and its host M. sativa.

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Saïda Mouffok, IE INRA

Saïda holds a PhD in Molecular Genetics obtained at the University of Toulouse (LBME) in 2014. Saïda brings her expertise in protein biochemistry to  the AOI project: protein tagging, purification of native and tagged proteins of bacterial or plant origin, sample preparation for proteomics, identification of interacting protein partners (pull down  assays, bacterial two-hybrid).

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Philippe Remigi, AGREENSKILLS post-doctorant

Philippe Remigi

After completing a Master in plant pathology (Université Paris XI – Orsay), Philippe joined LIPM to do his PhD under the supervision of N. Peeters (S. Genin’s team). He worked on the functional and evolutionary characterisation of a family of type III effectors from the plant pathogenic bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum. He then moved to C. Masson-Boivin’s group for a first post-doc to investigate transient hypermutagenesis occurring during the experimental evolution of R. solanacearum into a legume symbiont. Next, he went to New-Zealand for a second post-doc in P. Rainey’s team (Massey University, Auckland) to study an experimentally evolved epigenetic switch and the evolutionary transition to multicellularity using Pseudomonas fluorescens as a model bacterium. Since May 2018, Philippe is back in C. Masson-Boivin’s group to continue working on the R. solanacearum experimental evolution project. His project aims at describing the transcriptional responses of M. pudica when infected with evolved bacterial clones, and at studying the evolutionary dynamics of bacterial populations.

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Benoit Daubech, PHD student

Benoit Daubech

Benoit obtained a Master 2 in Plant Biosciences from the University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, in 2016. He was then recruited at the LIPM in Catherine Masson’s group to perform his PhD. His project focuses on the selection forces and genetic mechanisms that favor or prevent the evolution of mutualism in the rhizobium-legume symbiosis.

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Lan Zou, PHD student

Lan Zou

Lan ZOU obtained her master degree in Microbiology from Sichuan Agricultural University, China. During her master, she mainly worked on the genetic diversity and phylogeny of faba bean rhizobia, also screening of the highly effective rhizobia for field production. In 2016, she was awarded a scholarship from Chinese government (China Scholarship Council) to continue her PhD study in LIPM in the C-Masson and J-Batut group. Her research project mainly concerns the mechanism for autoregulation of infection of Medicago-Sinorhizobium meliloti symbiosis.

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Mingxing Tang, PHD student

Mingxing Tang

Mingxing Tang obtained his master’s degree in the University of Chinese Academy of Science. During his master-period study from 2013, he focused on microbial diversity in seawater and symbiosis between microalgae and bacteria, and completed polyphasic taxonomy of three novel marine bacteria. In 2016, he was funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council and started his PhD program in LIPM, supervised by Catherine Masson-Boivin and Delphine Capela.  He is mainly involved in the researches on adaptation to intracellularity during experimental evolution of Mimosa symbionts.

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Lukas Brichet, CDD AI

Lukas Brichet

Lukas Brichet obtained his master’s degree in Plant Biology from the University of Toulouse. Lukas participates to the genomic and transcriptomic analysis of the Mimosa pudica-Ralstonia/Cupriavidus symbiosis and develops tools for the genetic transformation of M. pudica with A. rhizogenes.

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