• Català
  • English
  • Español

Bacterial pathogens and plant cell death

Our research focuses on two aspects of bacterial-plant interactions:

1. Genetic determinants causing disease or disease resistance.

We use as a model the soil-borne, wide-host range pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum, which causes the devastating bacterial wilt disease. We study the transcriptional regulation pathogen virulence genes and plant defence genes. We are especially interested in defining when and where the bacterial main pathogenicity determinant - the type III secretion system- is expressed. We are also determining the plant genes that are induced upon infection and confer resistance to the pathogen in potato. In addition, we are characterising a family of R. solanacearum effectors of unknown function (the AWR proteins) to unravel their contribution to disease.

2. Executioners of programmed cell death (PCD).

We have shown that metacaspases, distant relatives of caspases, are main regulators of PCD in plants. We are deciphering the composition of protein complexes that regulate execution of the hypersensitive response (HR) cell death and how these protein hubs dynamically respond to pathogen recognition. We are also investigating the role of AtMC3 at the cross-road between HR cell death and development. Finally, we are studying the relation between autophagy and AtMC1-regulated cell death during HR and senescence.

Selected Publications

Lema Asqui S, Vercammen D, Serrano I, Valls M, Rivas S, Van Breusegem F, Conlon FL, Dangl JL, Coll NS.

AtSERPIN1 is an inhibitor of the metacaspase AtMC1-mediated cell death and autocatalytic processing in planta.

NEW PHYTOLOGIST (2017) Feb 3. doi: 10.1111/nph.14446.


Popa C, Li L, Gil S, Tatjer L, Hashii K, Tabuchi M, Coll NS, Ariño J, Valls M

The effector AWR5 from the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum is an inhibitor of the TOR signalling pathway

SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 6:27058 (2016)


Popa C, Coll NS, Valls M, Sessa G.

Yeast as a Heterologous Model System to Uncover Type III Effector Function.

PLOS PATHOGENS, 12(2):e1005360 (2016)


Salvesen GS, Hempel A, Coll NS.

Protease signaling in animal and plant-regulated cell death.

FEBS JOURNAL, 283(14):2577-98 (2016)


Olvera-Carrillo Y, Van Bel M, Van Hautegem T, Fendrych M, Van Durme M, Huysmans M, Šimášková M, Buscaill P, Rivas S, Coll NS, Maere S, Coppens F, Nowack MK.

A conserved core of PCD indicator genes discriminates developmentally and environmentally induced programmed cell death in plants.

PLANT PHYSIOLOGY, 169(4):2684-99 (2015)


Zuluaga AP, Solé M, Lu H, Góngora-Castillo E, Vaillancourt B, Coll NS, Buell CR, Valls M F

Transcriptome responses to Ralstonia solanacearum infection in the roots of the wild potato Solanum commersonii

BMC GENOMICS, 16:246 (2015)


Coll N.S., Smidler A., Puigvert M., Popa C., Valls M., Dangl J.L. (2014)

The plant metacaspase AtMC1 in pathogen-triggered programmed cell death and aging: Functional linkage with autophagy.

CELL DEATH & DIFFERENTIATION, 21(9):1399-408 (2014)


Zuluaga Cruz A.P, Ferreira V, Pianzzola MJ, Siri MI, Coll N.S., Valls M. (2014)

A novel, sensitive method to evaluate potato germplasm for bacterial wilt resistance using a luminescent Ralstonia solanacearum reporter strain.



Coll NS, Vercammen D, Smidler A, Clover C, Van Breusegem F, Dangl JL, Epple P.

Arabidopsis type I metacaspases control cell death

SCIENCE, 330(6009): 1393-1397 (2010)


Valls M, Genin S, Boucher C.

Integrated regulation of the type III secretion system and other virulence determinants in Ralstonia solanacearum

PLoS PATHOGENS, 8: 798-807 (2006)