The goal of our research programme is to understand how plants respond to stresses caused by biotic and abiotic factors. We study how plants recognize pathogens and sense adverse environmental conditions, how these signals are transduced and which physiological and biochemical responses to stress are triggered. We also investigate the biological cycle of relevant pathogens and the genes that control their virulence. 

The teams in our programme work on different crops (rice, melon, solanaceous plants, etc.), as well as on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana studying their interaction with important plant pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and oomycetes. We study antimicrobial peptide production, transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of plant defence responses, and cell death in disease resistance. Our research also aims at understanding the interactions between defence and development and plant responses to combined stresses. 

In collaboration with agro-biotech companies, we also devote our efforts to apply the acquired knowledge to obtain crops with enhanced resistance to pathogens and better adapted to changing environmental conditions.


Tomaž Š., Petek M., Lukan T., Pogačar K., Stare K., Prates E.T., Jacobson D.A., Zrimec J., Bajc G., Butala M., Novak M.P., Dudley Q., Patron N., Taler-Verčič A., Usenik A., Turk D., Prat S., Coll A., Gruden K.

A mini-TGA protein modulates gene expression through heterogeneous association with transcription factors (2023) Plant Physiology, vol. 191 (3), pp. 1934 -1952 (DOI:10.1093/plphys/kiac579)

Salguero-Linares J., Coll N.S.

Cell death as a defense strategy against pathogens in plants and animals (2023) PLoS pathogens, vol. 19 (4), pp. e1011253 - (DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1011253)

Chase O., Javed A., Byrne M.J., Thuenemann E.C., Lomonossoff G.P., Ranson N.A., López-Moya J.J.

CryoEM and stability analysis of virus-like particles of potyvirus and ipomovirus infecting a common host (2023) Communications biology, vol. 6 (1), pp. 433 - (DOI:10.1038/s42003-023-04799-x)

Phukan U.J., Stael S., Gonçalves A., Van Breusegem F., Coll N.S.

Detection and Quantification of Protein Aggregates in Plants (2023) Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 2581 pp. 221 -228 (DOI:10.1007/978-1-0716-2784-6_15)

Maekawa T., Kashkar H., Coll N.S.

Dying in self-defence: a comparative overview of immunogenic cell death signalling in animals and plants (2023) Cell Death and Differentiation, vol. 30 (2), pp. 258 -268 (DOI:10.1038/s41418-022-01060-6)