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Dr. Laurent Zimmerli, Associate Professor
Position Associate Professor
Highest degree Ph.D., University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Experience Postdoctoral Training, Carnegie Institute at Stanford, CA, USA

Plant-Pathogen Interactions, The Priming Phenomenon

Room No. Rm1150, Life Science Building
TEL 02-33669659
FAX 02-23673374
Research Projects

Plant Stress Perception and Signaling

We are interested in how plants perceive and integrate stress signals. To achieve this goal, my laboratory studies the priming phenomenon in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Priming refers to a phenomenon were plants are sensitized to stress. Primed plants demonstrate a faster activation of defense responses following stress perception. This leads to enhanced resistance.

The non-protein amino acid beta-aminobutyric acid (BABA) is a potent enhancer of plant stress resistance. BABA increases Arabidopsis resistance to heat, drought and salt stresses. This chemical also reinforces the Arabidopsis responses to microbial pathogens such as bacteria, oomycetes and necrotrophic fungi. BABA primes plant defense mechanisms. For example, BABA enhances Arabidopsis drought and high salinity resistance by priming both abscisic acid accumulation and the expression of stress-regulated genes. Similarly BABA-induced Arabidopsis resistance to virulent pathogenic bacteria depends on a faster activation of the salicylic acid-dependent defense signaling pathway. In my laboratory, BABA is used as a tool to discover genes involved in the priming phenomenon and/or in the plant resistance to microbial pathogens. The function of relevant genes is analyzed by combining reverse genetics, plant pathology and physiology approaches. Using this approach, we discovered more than 10 novel genes involved in the Arabidopsis defense mechanisms. My laboratory is currently focused on the functional characterization of two lectin receptor kinases.

I envision that the results of our researches will help to create improved crops with better stress tolerance. Global warming increases extreme weather conditions. A better understanding of the molecular basis of stress perception and signaling in plants is thus of critical importance.

Symptoms after bacterial infection

Job Opportunities

 1. PhD Students (Taiwanese and Foreigners)

 PhD students are welcome to join my group. You will typically be involved in the molecular characterization of the function of Arabidopsis defense-related genes recently discovered in our laboratory. You will work in small interaction groups with post-doctorates, master students and research assistants. For foreigners, applications for a three-year National Taiwan University International Graduate Students Scholarship are now open. If interested please contact me for details.

 2. Master Students

 My laboratory welcomes motivated master students. By joining my group, you will learn science from the basics to the sophisticated. You will learn new techniques and develop your critical, scientific thinking. You will work under the supervision of post-doctorates and PhD students. Motivated master students usually manage to publish their work in international journals.

Current Lab Members

Mathieu Gauthier, Postdoctoral Fellow.


Jeremy Catinot, Postdoctoral Fellow.


Dario Panzeri, Postdoctoral Fellow.


Ching-Wei Chen, PhD student.



Shweta Yekondi, PhD student.



Pin-Yao Huang, PhD student.


Yu-Hung Yeh, PhD student.


Cecile Yi-Ying Hsieh, Master student.


Elly You-Huei Huang, Master student.


Yu-Shine Chang, Master student.


Jimmy Jing-Bo Huang, Master student.


Steve Min-Yuan Tseng, Master student.


Taylor Tai-Yuan Huang, Master student.


Jason Jingsong Zhang, Master student.


Lorenz, Tai-I Chen, Master student.

Former Lab Members

Chia-Hong Tsai, PhD student, Michigan State University, USA.

Grace Jui-Chih Lin, ICON plc, Taiwan.

Amandine Radziejwoski, Postdoctoral Fellow, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium.

Terry Yi-Chia Lin, I-Mei Foods.

Ben, Chih-Cheng Chien, PhD student, Academia Sinica.

Zeke, Wei-Yen Chen, Research Assistant, NTU.

Dominique Arnaud, Postdoctoral Fellow, INRA/CNRS, France.

Chen-Chi Wu, Scientist, YourGene, Taiwan.

Mao-Chuain Chen, Research Assistant, Academia Sinica.

Yi-Chun Kuo, Taiwan Government.

Po-Wei Chu, Army duty.

Anna, Ting-Yu Huang, Eusol-Biotech, Taiwan.

Marie Desclos-Theveniau, France.

Kim, Chuan-Chin Tzu, Traveling.

Apple, Yu-Ping Lu, Teacher.

Prashant Singh, Iowa State University, Assistant Scientist.


1.      Chen CW, Panzeri D, Yeh YH, Kadota Y, Huang PY, Tao CN, Roux M, Chien SC, Chin TC, Chu PW, Zipfel C, Zimmerli L. (2014) The Arabidopsis Malectin-Like/Leucine-Rich Repeat Receptor-Like Kinase IOS1 Associates with the Pattern Recognition Receptors FLS2 and EFR and is Critical for Priming of Pattern-Triggered Immunity. Plant Cell (accepted)

2.      Singh P, Yekondi S, Chen PW, Tsai CH, Yu CW, Wu K, Zimmerli L. (2014) Environmental History Modulates Arabidopsis Pattern-Triggered Immunity in a HISTONE ACETHYLTRANSFERASE1-Dependent Manner. Plant Cell pii: tpc.114.123356. [Epub ahead of print]

3.      Huang PY, Yeh YH, Liu AC, Cheng CP, Zimmerli L. (2014) The Arabidopsis LecRK-VI.2 associates with the pattern-recognition receptor FLS2 and primes Nicotiana benthamiana pattern-triggered immunity. Plant J doi: 10.1111/tpj.12557. [Epub ahead of print]

4.      Huang TY, Desclos-Theveniau M, Chien CT, Zimmerli L. (2013) Arabidopsis thaliana transgenics overexpressing IBR3 demonstrate enhanced susceptibility to bacteria Pseudomonas syringae. Plant Biol 15: 832-40.

5.      Po-Wen C, Singh P, Zimmerli L. (2013) Priming of the Arabidopsis pattern-triggered immunity response upon infection by necrotrophic Pectobacterium carotovorum bacteria. Mol Plant Pathol 14: 58-70.

6.      Singh P, Kuo YC, Mishra S, Tsai CH, Chien CC, Chen CW, Desclos-Theveniau M, Chu PW, Schulze B, Chinchilla D, Boller T, Zimmerli L. (2012) The Lectin Receptor Kinase-VI.2 Is Required for Priming and Positively Regulates Arabidopsis Pattern-Triggered Immunity. Plant Cell 24: 1256-70.

7.      Desclos-Theveniau M, Arnaud D, Huang TY, Lin GJC, Chen WY, Lin YC, Zimmerli L. (2012) The Arabidopsis Lectin Receptor Kinase LecRK-V.5 Represses Stomatal Immunity Induced by Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato DC3000. PLoS Pathog 8: e1002513.

8.      Luo M, Liu X, Singh P, Cui Y, Zimmerli L, Wu K (2012) Chromatin modifications and remodeling in plant abiotic stress responses. Biochim Biophys Acta 1819: 129-36.

9.      Tsai CH, Singh P, Chen CW, Thomas J, Weber J, Mauch-Mani B, Zimmerli L. (2011) Priming for enhanced defence responses by specific inhibition of the Arabidopsis response to coronatine. Plant J 65: 469-79.

10.    Singh P, Wu CC, Zimmerli L. (2010) Beta-aminobutyric acid priming by stress imprinting. Plant Signal Behav Volume 5, Issue 7.

11.    Wu CC, Singh P, Chen MC, Zimmerli L. (2010) L-Glutamine Inhibits Beta-Aminobutyric Acid-Induced Stress Resistance and Priming in Arabidopsis J Exp Bot 61: 995-1002.

12.    Zimmerli L, Hou B, Tsai CH, Jakab G, Mauch-Mani B, Somerville S. (2008) The Xenobiotic Beta-Aminobutyric Acid Enhances Arabidopsis Thermotolerance. Plant J 53: 144-56.

13.    Conrath U, Beckers GJM, Flors V, García-Agustín P, Jakab G, Mauch F, Newman MA, Pieterse CMJ, Poinssot B, Pozo MJ, Pugin A, Schaffrath U, Ton J, Wendehenne D, Zimmerli L, Mauch-Mani B. (2006) Priming: Getting Ready for Battle. Mol Plant-Microbe Int 19: 1062-71.  

14.    Jakab G, Ton J, Flors V, Zimmerli L, Métraux JP, Mauch-Mani B. (2005) Enhancing Arabidopsis Salt and Drought Stress Tolerance by Chemical Priming for its Abscisic Acid Responses. Plant Physiol 139:267-74.

15.    Zimmerli L, Stein M, Lipka V, Schulze-Lefert P, Somerville S. (2004) Host and Nonhost Pathogens Elicit Different Jasmonate/Ethylene Responses in Arabidopsis. Plant J 40: 633-46.

16.    Assaad FF, Qui JL, Youngs H, Ehrhardt D, Zimmerli L, Kalde M, Wanner G, Edwards HH, Peck SC, Ramonell K, Somerville C, Thordal-Christensen H. (2004) The PEN1 Syntaxin Defines a Novel Cellular Compartment upon Fungal Attack and Is Required for the Timely Assembly of Papilla. Mol Biol Cell 15: 5118-29. 

17.    Zimmerli L and Somerville S. (2004) Transcriptomics in Plants: from Expression to Gene Function, in Plant Functional Genomics, edited by Dario Leister, the Haworth Press, Binghamton, USA (book chapter).

18.    Persello F*, Thibaud MC*, Zimmerli L, Lessard P, Sarrobert C, David P, Gerbaud A, Robaglia C, Somerville S, Nussaume L. (2003) Transcriptome Analysis of Arabidopsis Colonized by Pseudomonas Reveals a General Effect on Pathogen Resistance. Plant J 36: 177-88 (*both first authors have contributed equally to this work). 

19.    Scheible W, Fry B, Kochevenko A, Schindelasch D, Zimmerli L, Somerville S, Loria R, Somerville C. (2003) An Arabidopsis Mutant Resistant to Thaxtomin A, a Cellulose Synthase Inhibitor from Streptomyces Species. Plant Cell 15: 1781-94. 

20.    Jakab G, Manrique A, Zimmerli L, Métraux JP, Mauch-Mani B. (2003) Molecular Characterization of a Novel Lipase-Like Pathogen-Inducible Gene Family of Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol 132: 2230-9. 

21.    Zimmerli L, Metraux JP, Mauch-Mani B. (2001) Beta-Aminobutyric Acid-Induced Protection of Arabidopsis Against the Necrotrophic Fungus Botrytis cinerea. Plant Physiol 126: 517-23. 

22.    Jakab G, Cottier V, Toquin V, Rigoli G, Zimmerli L, Metraux JP, Mauch-Mani B. (2001) Beta-Aminobutyric Acid-Induced Resistance in Plants. Eur J Plant Pathol 107: 29-37.

23.    Zimmerli L, Jakab G, Metraux JP, Mauch-Mani B. (2000) Potentiation of Pathogen-Specific Defense Mechanisms in Arabidopsis by Beta-Aminobutyric Acid. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 97: 12920-5.

General Biology
Plant Physiology
Methods in Plant Molecular Biology Research
Graduate Seminar
Discussion on Plant Biology Research
Advanced Topics on Plant-Microbe Interactions
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