University Halle-Wittenberg, DE

My lab focuses on the molecular activity of bacterial virulence factors that are injected into eukaryotic cells to sabotage them for the benefit of the pathogen. Our special emphasis is on TAL effectors (TALEs) from plant-pathogenic Xanthomonas which employ a unique DNA-binding domain. We solved the "code" for TALE specificity and demonstrated that artificial TALEs with almost any DNA-binding specificity can be generated. This feature makes TALEs a unique tool for biotechnology. Presently, we study the molecular details of TALE-DNA interaction, employ TALEs as remote controls for gene expression in human cells, and develop TALENs for genome editing to generate pathogen-resistant crops.

1996 "Osmoregulation in Bacillus subtilis", Philipps University Marburg, Germany.
1996-1997 "Temperature-dependent regulation of virulence genes in Pseudomonas syringae", Max-Planck-Insitute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg, Germany.
1997-1999, "Interaction of Pseudomonas syringae and Arabidopsis", Washington University, St. Louis, USA.
1999-present, "Type III effectors from Pseudomonas syringae and Xanthomonas", Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

^ Computational predictions provide insights into the biology of TAL effector target sites.
Grau, J., Wolf, A., Reschke, M., Bonas, U., Posch, S., and Boch, J.
PLoS Comp. Biol. 9, e1002962. (2013)
^ TAL effector RVD specificities and efficiencies.
Streubel, J., Blücher, C., Landgraf, A., and Boch,
J. Nat. Biotechnol. 30, 593-595. (2012)
^ Transcriptional activators of human genes with programmable DNA-specificity.
PLoS ONE 6, e19509.
^ Xanthomonas AvrBs3 family-type III effectors: discovery and function. Annu. Rev.
Geißler, R., Scholze, H., Hahn, S., Streubel, J., Bonas, U., Behrens, S.-E., and Boch, J. (2011) ^ Boch, J. and Bonas, U.
Phytopathol. 48, 419-436. (2010)
^ Breaking the code of DNA binding specificity of TAL-type III effectors.
Boch, J., Scholze, H., Schornack S., Landgraf, A., Hahn, S., Kay, S., Lahaye, T., Nickstadt, A., and Bonas, U.
Science 326, 1509-1512. (2009)

Speaker at
VIB FSVM Research Building UGent, 16-17 September 2013