Our main scientific interest lies in the field of plant-microbe interactions. We are in particularly interested in understanding how pathogen perception leads to reprogramming of gene expression. Through evolution plants have evolved two strategies of pathogen perception, extracellular recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) by trans-membrane pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) and intracellular recognition of effectors by multi-domain resistance (R) proteins. Despite our understanding of how plants perceive pathogens, little is known about the downstream responses leading to reprogramming of gene expression.
Upon pathogen perception, plant cells are faced with the challenge to reallocate their limited resources and quickly change their state of gene transcription with the minimum cost on other biological processes. Chromatin remodelling is now recognized as a major mechanism controlling gene expression and a point of cross talk between different pathways. Chromatin remodelling requires histone covalent modifications and/or the action of ATP-dependent remodelling complexes.
We use the model pathosystem consisting of the host Arabidopsis thaliana and the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae in combination with genome-wide approaches such as mRNA-seq and ChIP-seq, confocal microscopy and biochemistry to identify how pathogen perception leads to chromatin remodelling that ultimately controls gene expression. An understanding of how chromatin remodelling regulates plant immune responses will be an important step towards engineering plants with durable resistance and increased crop yields.
Royal Society University Research
Assistant Professor, Royal Society Research Fellow, School of Life Sciences, Warwick, 2012-present.
Post-doctoral researcher, Deciphering the Phospho-code of EFR, FLS2 and BAK1, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, 2011-2012.
Post-doctoral researcher, Chromatin organization in Arabidopsis root epidermal development, John Innes Centre, Norwich, 2009-2011.
Post-doctoral researcher, Characterization of the mechanism of AvrPto and AvrPtoB recognition by the tomato Prf/Pto resistance complex, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, 2005-2008.
PhD Biochemistry, Department of Botany and Sciences, University of California Riverside, US, 1999-2005.
Researcher, Institute of Subtropical Plants and Olive Tree, Chania, Greece, 1997-1999
Diploma, School of Agriculture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, 1991-1996
- Bianchet, Chantal, Wong, Aloysius, Quaglia, Mara, Alqurashi, May, Gehring, Chris, Ntoukakis, Vardis, Pasqualini, Stefania, 2019. An Arabidopsis thaliana leucine-rich repeat protein harbors an adenylyl cyclase catalytic center and affects responses to pathogens. Journal of Plant Physiology, 232, pp. 12-22
- Gimenez-Ibanez, Selena, Boter, Marta, Ortigosa, Andrés, García-Casado, Gloria, Chini, Andrea, Lewsey, Mathew G., Ecker, Joseph R., Ntoukakis, Vardis, Solano, Roberto, 2017. JAZ2 controls stomata dynamics during bacterial invasion. New Phytologist, 213 (3), pp. 1378-1392
- Ntoukakis, Vardis, Gimenez-Ibanez, S., 2016. Parasitic plants--A CuRe for what ails thee. Science, 353 (6298), pp. 442-443
- Üstün, Suayib, Sheikh, Arsheed, Gimenez-Ibanez , Selena, Jones, Alexandra M., Ntoukakis, Vardis, Börnke, Frederik, 2016. The proteasome acts as a hub for plant immunity and is targeted by Pseudomonas type-III effectors. Plant Physiology, 172 (3), pp. 1941-1958
- Couto, Daniel, Niebergall, Roda, Liang, Xiangxiu, Bücherl, Christoph A., Sklenar, Jan, Macho, Alberto P., Ntoukakis, Vardis, Derbyshire, Paul, Altenbach, Denise, Maclean, Dan, Robatzek, Silke, Uhrig, Joachim, Menke, Frank, Zhou, Jian-Min, Zipfel, Cyril, 2016. The Arabidopsis protein phosphatase PP2C38 negatively regulates the central immune kinase BIK1. PLoS Pathogens, 12 (8)
- Patron, Nicola J., Orzaez, Diego, Marillonnet, Sylvestre, Warzecha, Heribert, Matthewman, Colette, Youles, Mark, Raitskin, Oleg, Leveau, Aymeric, Farré, Gemma, Rogers, Christian, Smith, Alison, Hibberd, Julian, Webb, Alex A. R., Locke, James, Schornack, Sebastian, Ajioka, Jim, Baulcombe, David C., Zipfel, Cyril, Kamoun, Sophien, Jones, Jonathan D. G., Kuhn, Hannah, Robatzek, Silke, Esse, H. Peter van, Sanders, Dale, Oldroyd, Giles, Martin, Cathie, Field, Rob, O'Connor, Sarah, Fox, Samantha, Wulff, Brande, Miller, Ben, Breakspear, Andy, Radhakrishnan, Guru, Delaux, Pierre-Marc, Loqué, Dominique, Granell, Antonio, Tissier, Alain, Shih, Patrick, Brutnell, Thomas P., Quick, W. Paul, Rischer, Heiko, Fraser, Paul D., Aharoni, Asaph, Raines, Christine, South, Paul F., Ané, Jean-Michel, Hamberger, Björn R., Langdale, Jane, Stougaard, Jens, Bouwmeester, Harro, Udvardi, Michael, Murray, James A. H., Ntoukakis, Vardis, Schäfer, Patrick, Denby, Katherine J., Edwards, Keith J., Osbourn, Anne, Haseloff, Jim, 2015. Standards for plant synthetic biology : a common syntax for exchange of DNA parts. New Phytologist, 208 (1), pp. 13-19
- Macho, A. P., Schwessinger, B., Ntoukakis, Vardis, Brutus, A., Segonzac, C., Roy, S., Kadota, Y., Oh, M. -H., Sklenar, J., Derbyshire, P., Lozano-Duran, R., Malinovsky, F. G., Monaghan, J., Menke, F. L., Huber, S. C., He, S. Y., Zipfel, C., 2014. A bacterial tyrosine phosphatase inhibits plant pattern recognition receptor activation. Science, 343 (6178), pp. 1509-1512
- Rosa, S., Ntoukakis, Vardis, Ohmido, N., Pendle, A., Abranches, R., Shaw, P., 2014. Cell differentiation and development in Arabidopsis are associated with changes in histone dynamics at the single-cell level. The Plant Cell, 26 (12), pp. 4821-4833
- Kadota, Yasuhiro, Sklenar, Jan, Derbyshire, Paul, Stransfeld, Lena, Asai, Shuta, Ntoukakis, Vardis, Jones, Jonathan D. G., Shirasu, Ken, Menke, Frank, Jones, Alexandra M., Zipfel, Cyril, 2014. Direct regulation of the NADPH oxidase RBOHD by the PRR-associated kinase BIK1 during plant immunity. Molecular Cell, 54 (1), pp. 43-55
- Piquerez, Sophie J., Balmuth, Alexi L., Sklenár, Jan, Jones, Alexandra M., Rathjen, John P., Ntoukakis, Vardis, 2014. Identification of post-translational modifications of plant protein complexes. Journal of Visualized Experiments
- Piquerez, Sophie J. M., Harvey, Sarah E., Beynon, Jim, Ntoukakis, Vardis, 2014. Improving crop disease resistance : lessons from research on Arabidopsis and tomato. Frontiers in Plant Science, 5, pp. 1-13
- Segonzac, C., Macho, A. P., Sanmartin, M., Ntoukakis, Vardis, Sanchez-Serrano, J. J., Zipfel, C., 2014. Negative control of BAK1 by protein phosphatase 2A during plant innate immunity. The EMBO Journal, 33, pp. 2069-2079
- Ntoukakis, Vardis, Saur, Isabel M. L., Conlan, Brendon, Rathjen, John P., 2014. The changing of the guard : the Pto/Prf receptor complex of tomato and pathogen recognition. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 20, pp. 69-74
- Jones, Alexandra M., Monaghan, Jacqueline, Ntoukakis, Vardis, 2013. Editorial : mechanisms regulating immunity in plants. Frontiers in Plant Science, 4
- Ntoukakis, Vardis, Balmuth, Alexi L., Mucyn, Tatiana S., Gutierrez, Jose R., Jones, Alexandra M., Rathjen, John P., 2013. The tomato Prf complex is a molecular trap for bacterial effectors based on Pto transphosphorylation. PLoS Pathogens, Vol.9 (No.1)
- Ntoukakis, Vardis, Schwessinger, B., Segonzac, C., Zipfel, C., 2011. Cautionary Notes on the Use of C-Terminal BAK1 Fusion Proteins for Functional Studies. The Plant Cell, Vol. 23 (No. 11), pp. 3871-3878
- Guttman, David S., Schwessinger, Benjamin, Roux, Milena, Kadota, Yasuhiro, Ntoukakis, Vardis, Sklenar, Jan, Jones, Alexandra M., Zipfel, Cyril, 2011. Phosphorylation-Dependent Differential Regulation of Plant Growth, Cell Death, and Innate Immunity by the Regulatory Receptor-Like Kinase BAK1. PLoS Genetics, Vol. 7 (No. 4)
- Gutierrez, Jose R., Balmuth, Alexi L., Ntoukakis, Vardis, Mucyn, Tatiana S., Gimenez-Ibanez, Selena, Jones, Alexandra M., Rathjen, John P., 2010. Prf immune complexes of tomato are oligomeric and contain multiple Pto-like kinases that diversify effector recognition. The Plant Journal, Vol. 61 (No. 3), pp. 507-518
- Gimenez-Ibanez, Selena, Hann, Dagmar R., Ntoukakis, Vardis, Petutschnig, Elena, Lipka, Volker, Rathjen, John P., 2009. AvrPtoB Targets the LysM Receptor Kinase CERK1 to Promote Bacterial Virulence on Plants. Current Biology, Vol. 19 (No. 5), pp. 423-429
- Ntoukakis, Vardis, Mucyn, T. S., Gimenez-Ibanez, S., Chapman, H. C., Gutierrez, J. R., Balmuth, Alexi L., Jones, Alexandra M., Rathjen, J. P., 2009. Host inhibition of a bacterial virulence effector triggers immunity to infection. Science, 324 (5928), pp. 784-787
- Gimenez-Ibanez, Selena, Ntoukakis, Vardis, Rathjen, John P., 2009. The LysM receptor kinase CERK1 mediates bacterial perception in Arabidopsis. Plant Signaling & Behavior, Vol. 4 (No. 6), pp. 539-541
- Sheikh, A.H., Ntoukakis, V., 2018. Mitogen-activated protein kinase activation after effector recognition in tomato. V INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON TOMATO DISEASES: PERSPECTIVES AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS IN TOMATO PROTECTION, Malaga,Spain, June 13- June 16 2016, Published in Acta Horticulturae, pp. 99-104
|Title||Funder||Award start||Award end|
|Engineering synthetic 14-3-3 proteins to achieve broad-spectrum disease resistance in plants Royal Society Newton Advanced Fellowship Alberto Macho||Royal Society||30 Dec 2018||29 Dec 2021|
|Research Fellows Enhancement Award 2017 - Improvement of multiple agronomic traits by impediment of a histone acetyltransferase||Royal Society||01 Dec 2017||31 Mar 2021|
|University Research Fellowship 2017 Renewal - Role of chromatin remodelling in Plant-Microbe interactions||Royal Society||01 Oct 2017||30 Sep 2020|
|Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology Centre (WISB)||BBSRC||14 Nov 2014||31 May 2020|
|Enhancing food security in Ethiopia by breeding enset plants resistant to Xanthomonas Wilt||Royal Society||04 Dec 2017||31 Jul 2019|
|Royal Society Fellowship - Role of chromatin in plant microbe interactions||Royal Society||01 Oct 2012||30 Sep 2017|
|Royal Society Research Fellowship: Role of chromatin remodelling in plant microbe interactions||Royal Society||01 Oct 2012||30 Sep 2017|
|Vacation Studentship for Breagha Magill - The role of truncated R proteins in plant-pathogen interactions||British Society for Plant Pathology||19 Jun 2017||18 Aug 2017|
|Molecular mechanism regulating MAPKs activation within resistance complexes||BBSRC||01 Jul 2014||30 Jun 2017|
|Regulation of polar growth in plant roots: the interplay of signalling and vesicle trafficking||Medical and Life Sciences Research Fund||01 Aug 2015||31 Jul 2016|
|Study of defense mechanisms in Arachis hypogea against its major pests; British Council: Newton Bhabha PhD Placement Programme award - Pratyusha Sambangi||British Council||01 Apr 2015||29 Feb 2016|
|Developing interdisciplinary omics tools for organelle and cell type-specific analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana||New Phytologist Trust||01 Sep 2014||30 Sep 2014|