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Wu, Chih-Hang (吳志航)

Assistant Research Fellow

  • 2020- Assistant Research Fellow, IPMB, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • 2016-2019 Postdoctoral Scientist, The Sainsbury Laboratory, UK
  • 2016 Ph.D., The Sainsbury Laboratory, University of East Anglia, UK
  • 2011-2012 Research Assistant, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
  • 2008-2011 Research Assistant, IPMB, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • 2007 M.S., Plant Pathology and Microbiology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
  • 2005 B.S., Plant Pathology and Microbiology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
  • +886-2-2787-1142(Lab)
  • +886-2-2787-1141(Office)
  • wuchh@gate.sinica.edu.tw
  • Plant Immunity; Molecular Plant-microbe Interactions
  • Lab Website
  • ORCID
  • Google Scholar

The plant innate immune system

Plants are continuously exposed to diverse microorganisms in the environment, many of which can invade plants and cause diseases. Some of these plant pathogenic microorganisms infect economically important crops, leading to huge yield loss in agriculture. To fend off the invading pathogens, plants have developed an immune system to detect pathogens and restrict pathogen growth. This includes using the cell surface PRRs (Pattern Recognition Receptors) and intracellular NLRs (Nucleotide-binding domain Leucine-rich repeat Receptors) to recognize pathogen molecules and then activate immune signaling. Many of these immune receptors function as disease resistance (R) proteins that protect plants from pathogen invasion and are very useful in agriculture. 

PRRs localize at the plasma membrane and detect extracellular PAMPs (Pathogen-Associated Molecular Patterns), whereas NLRs are intracellular proteins that detect the effector proteins secreted from pathogens. Upon the recognition of pathogen molecules, these immune receptors activate downstream signaling cascades, leading to PRR-mediated immunity and NLR-mediated immunity. Some NLRs work as functional singletons that detect pathogens and activate immune response on their own; however, some NLRs function together, in which one of them is a sensor NLR that detect pathogen and the other one is a helper NLR that is essential for immune signaling. 


The NRC network of solanaceous plants

Recent discoveries showed that NLRs can work as in functional singletons, pairs and networks. In the solanaceous plants, the NRC network that confers resistance to various pathogens is composed of several sensor NLRs that detect different pathogen proteins, and three major helper NLRs (NRC2, NRC3 and NRC4) that are functionally redundant but display distinct specificities toward different sensor NLRs. Furthermore, the NRC family and NRC-dependent sensor NLRs are phylogenetically clustered into a well-supported superclade. These results reveal a complex genetic network beyond the ‘gene-for-gene’ hypothesis, and link immune signaling to the history of NLR gene evolution.

Our research center on the evolutionary and functional dynamics of the plant immunity. We hope to address the following three questions about the NRC network:

  1. How do helper-sensor NLR proteins function together?
  2. How does the NRC network specialize in different plant tissues?
  3. How did the NRC network evolve in different plant lineages?
All publication list

Selected publication list

  • Wu CH*, Adachi H*, De la Concepcion JC*, Castells-Graells R, Nekrasov V, Kamoun S. 2020. NRC4 gene cluster is not essential for bacterial flagellin-triggered immunity. Plant Physiology 182: 455–459. org/10.1104/pp.19.00859 (* Equal contribution)
  • Frantzeskakis L, Pietro A Di, Rep M, Schirawski J, Wu CH, and Panstruga R. 2020. Rapid evolution in plant–microbe interactions–a molecular genomics perspective. New Phytologist 225 :1134-1142. org/10.1111/nph.15966
  • Adachi H, Contreras M, Harant A, Wu CH, Derevnina L, Sakai T, Duggan C, Moratto E, Bozkurt T, Maqbool A, Win J, Kamoun S. 2019. An N-terminal motif in NLR immune receptors is functionally conserved across distantly related plant species. eLife 8: e49956. doi: 7554/eLife.49956
  • Jose S, Wu CH, and Kamoun S. 2019. Overcoming plant blindness in science, education, and society. Plants, People, Planet 1 :169-172. org/10.1002/ppp3.51
  • Wu CH and Kamoun S. 2019. Tomato Prf requires NLR helpers NRC2 and NRC3 to confer resistance against the bacterial speck pathogen Pseudomonas syringae tomato. bioRxiv. doi.org/10.1101/595744
  • Derevnina L, Kamoun S# and Wu CH#. Dude, where is my mutant? Nicotiana benthamiana meets forward genetics. New Phytologist 221:607–610. doi.org/10.1111/nph.15521 (#Corresponding author)
  • Wu CH, Derevnina L, and Kamoun S. Receptor networks underpin plant immunity. Science 360:1300-1301. doi: 10.1126/science.aat2623.
  • Upson JL, Zess EK, Bialas A, Wu CH, and Kamoun S. 2018. The coming of age of EvoMPMI: evolutionary molecular plant-microbe interactions across multiple timescales. Current Opinion in Plant Biology44:108-116.  org/10.1016/j.pbi.2018.03.003.
  • Bialas A, Zess EK, De la Concepcion JC, Franceschetti M, Pennington HG, Yoshida K, Upson JL, Chanclud E, Wu CH, Langner T, Maqbool A, Varden FA, Derevnina L, Belhaj K, Fujisaki K, Saitoh H, Terauchi R, Banfield MJ, and Kamoun S. 2017. Lessons in effector and NLR biology of plant-microbe systems. Mol. Plant-Microbe Interact. 31:34-45. doi.org/10.1094/MPMI-08-17-0196-FI.
  • Wu CH, Abd-El-Haliem A, Bozkurt TO, Belhaj K, Terauchi R, Vossen JH, and Kamoun S. 2017. NLR network mediates immunity to diverse plant pathogens. PNAS 114:8113-8118. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1702041114.
  • Derevnina L, Dagdas YF, De la Concepcion JC, Bialas A, Kellner R, Petre B, Domazakis E, Du J, Wu CH, Lin X, Aguilera-Galvez C, Cruz-Mireles N, Vleeshouwers VG, and Kamoun S. 2016. Nine things to know about elicitins. New Phytologist 212:888-895. doi: 10.1111/nph.14137.
  • Wu CH, Belhaj K, Bozkurt TO, Birk SM, and Kamoun S. 2016. The NLR helper proteins NRC2a/b and NRC3 but not NRC1 are required for Pto-mediated immunity in Nicotiana benthamiana. New Phytologist 209:1344-52. doi: 10.1111/nph.13764.
  • Peng KC, Wang CW, Wu CH, Huang CT, and Liou RF. 2015. Tomato SOBIR1/EVR homologs are involved in elicitin perception and plant defense against the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora parasitica. Mol. Plant-Microbe Interact. 28:913-926. doi: 10.1094/MPMI-12-14- 0405-R.
  • Wu CH, Krasileva KV, Banfield MJ, Terauchi R, and Kamoun S. 2015. The sensor domains of plant NLR proteins: more than decoys? Frontiers in Plant Science 6:134. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00134.
  • Bozkurt TO, Belhaj K, Dagdas YF, Chaparro-Garcia A, Wu CH, Cano LM, and Kamoun S. 2015. Rerouting of plant late endocytic trafficking towards a pathogen interface. Traffic 16:204-226. doi: 10.1111/tra.12245.
  • Wu CH, Lee SC, and Wang CW. 2011. Viral protein targeting to the cortical endoplasmic reticulum is required for cell-cell spreading in plants. Journal of Cell Biology 193: 521-535. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201006023.
  • Lee SC, Wu CH, and Wang CW. 2010. Traffic of a viral movement protein complex to the highly curved tubules of the cortical endoplasmic reticulum. Traffic 11: 912-930. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2010.01064.x.
  • Wu CH, Yan HZ, Liu LF, and Liou RF. 2008. Functional characterization of a gene family encoding polygalacturonases in Phytophthora parasitica. Mol. Plant-Microbe Interact. 21: 480-489. doi: 10.1094/MPMI-21-4-0480.
Ph.D. Student
Foong-Jing Goh (吳豐靖)
National Chung-Hsing University (TIGP-MBAS)
M.S. Plant Biology, University of Science Malaysia
wind1989@hotmail.com
+886-2-27871142 (R420)
Ph.D. Student
Hung-Yu Wang (汪紘宇)
National Chung-Hsing University (TIGP-MBAS)
M.S. Bioscience and Biotechnology, National Taiwan Ocean University
hank99911@gmail.com
+886-2-27871142 (R420)
Research Assistant
Juan Carlos Lopez (洛胡安)
M.S. Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology, University of Seville, Spain
as0200314@gate.sinica.edu.tw
+886-2-27871142 (R420)
Research Assistant
Ching-Yi Huang (黃靖益)
M.S. Plant Pathology and Microbiology, National Taiwan University
as0200178@gate.sinica.edu.tw
+886-2-27871142 (R420)
Research Assistant
Yu-Seng Huang (黃宇昇)
M.S. Plant Pathology and Microbiology, National Taiwan University
a0936586196@gmail.com
+886-2-27871142 (R420)
Research Assistant
Chin-Wen Chang (張槿玟)
M.S. Plant Biology, National Taiwan University
jwchang@gate.sinica.edu.tw
+886-2-27871142 (R420)