Mary C. Wildermuth, Associate Professor
Mary C. Wildermuth
Plant-Microbe Interactions
Associate Professor, Plant & Microbial Biology
221A Koshland Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
Lab Phone 510.643.4862
Fax 510.642.4995

Ph.D.  Biochemistry    University of Colorado at Boulder, 1997
B.S.   Chemical Engineering    Cornell University



Plant-Pathogen Interactions
Research Overview

Research Overview

Plant-pathogen interactions are marvelously intricate, diverse, and highly integrated, with the disease outcome of the interaction dependent upon both pathogen and plant host factors and processes. My long-term goal is to understand the mechanisms by which hosts and pathogens interact to redirect host metabolism and physiology. By studying compatible interactions, where disease occurs, we can identify host factors that alter the extent of pathogen growth and reproduction resulting in enhanced susceptibility or resistance. These host factors may be involved in host defense or utilized by the pathogen for its growth and reproduction. Arabidopsis thaliana is our model host of choice because of its small, sequenced diploid genome, six-week generation time, and unparalleled associated genetic and genomic resources. In addition, Arabidopsis research on phytohormones and disease resistance has both translated to agronomically important species and led to the identification of host regulatory components impacting human health (e.g. NB-LRR proteins involved in innate immunity). Furthermore, because pathogens have evolved to effectively manipulate fundamental host processes and this manipulation often occurs as an induced, localized response, plant pathosystems can uniquely allow us to elucidate components of fundamental biological processes such as the cell cycle.

In my laboratory, we generate, analyze, and integrate biological information across disciplines to:
*     Discover host processes of importance to an interaction through the use of systems-level data
*     Uncover the process components and their regulation through detailed biochemical, molecular genetic, cell biological, and genomic analyses
*     Elucidate the functional role of a process in the context of a given plant pathosystem using theoretical, informatic, and experimental approaches.
We then assess our findings in a broader context to determine common and divergent plant host mechanisms and associated control points across pathosystems and to inform our understanding of fundamental biological processes.

We are particularly interested in integrating data from our lab with that of others to gain a holistic understanding of processes of importance to the sustained growth and reproduction of an adapted powdery mildew pathogen on its host plant. New initatives include:
*     NSF Creativity Award to further investigate the role of powdery mildew-induced plant cell endoreduplication on fungal growth and reproduction
*     DOE Joint Genome Institute Community Science Program Project with Shauna Somerville and collaborators world-wide to sequence the genomes of eleven phylogenetically diverse powdery mildew fungi that colonize distinct    plants to identify shared genes required for obligate biotrophy on plants, and specific genes that allow one powdery mildew, but not another, to colonize a given plant
*    UC Bakar Fellowship to translate fundamental discoveries on disease resistance to agricultural species.
Additional projects in the lab focus on the stress hormone salicylic acid - its metabolism and function in plant defense.
We thank UC Berkeley, the National Science Foundation, the DOE Joint Genome Institute, the Winkler Family Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and UC Berkeley Bakar Fellowship for research support.

Recent Publications

Chandran D, Rickert J, Huang Y, Steinwand MA, Marr SK, Wildermuth MC. (2014) Atypical E2F transcriptional repressor DEL1 acts at the intersection of plant growth and immunity by controlling the hormone salicylic acid. Cell Host Microbe 15: 506-13.

Chandran D., Rickert J.C., Cherk C., Dotson B.R., and M.C. Wildermuth (2013) Host ploidy underlying the fungal feeding site is a determinant of powdery mildew growth and reproduction. Mol. Plant Microbe Interact. 26: 537-45. 

Dempsey, D.A., Vlot, A.C., Wildermuth*, M.C., and Klessig, D.F. (2011) Salicylic acid biosynthesis and metabolism. The Arabidopsis Book 2011; 9:e0156. *co- first and -corresponding author. 
Okrent, R.A. and M.C. Wildermuth (2011) Evolutionary history of the GH3 family of acyl adenylases in rosids. Plant Molecular Biology 76: 489-505.
Jones, A.M. and M.C. Wildermuth (2011) The phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato DC3000 has three high affinity iron scavenging systems functional under iron limitation but dispensable for pathogenesis. Journal of Bacteriology 193: 2767-2775. PDF
Chandran, D., Inada, N., and M.C. Wildermuth (2011) Laser microdissection of plant-fungus interaction sites and isolation of RNA for downstream expression profiling. Methods in Molecular Biology: Plant Immunity (ed. J. McDowell) 712:241-62, Humana Press, New York. PDF
Chandran, D., Hather, G., and M.C. Wildermuth (2011) Global expression profiling of RNA from laser microdissected cells at fungal–plant interaction sites. Methods in Molecular Biology: Plant Immunity (ed. J. McDowell) 712: 263-81, Humana Press, New York. PDF
Ford, K.A., Casida J.E., Chandran, D., Gulevich, A.G., Okrent, R.A., Durkin, K.A., Sarpong, R., Bunnelle, E.M., and M.C. Wildermuth (2010) Neonicotinoid insecticides induce salicylate-associated plant defense responses. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107: 17527-17532. PDF Supplemental material

M.C. Wildermuth (2010) Modulation of host nuclear ploidy: a common plant biotroph mechanism. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 13: 449-458. PDF

Chandran, D., Inada, N., Hather, G., Kleindt, C.K. and M.C. Wildermuth (2009) Laser microdissection of Arabidopsis cells at the powdery mildew infection site reveals site-specific processes and regulators. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107: 460-5. Epub Dec 14, 2009. PDF Supplemental material

Okrent, R.A., Brooks, M.D., and M.C. Wildermuth (2009) Arabidopsis GH3.12 (PBS3) conjugates amino acids to 4-substituted benzoates and is inhibited by salicylate. Journal of Biological Chemistry 284: 9472-54. PDF

Chandran, D., Tai, Y.C., Hather, G., Dewdney, J., Denoux, C., Burgess, D.G., Ausubel, F.M., Speed, T.P., and M.C. Wildermuth (2009) Temporal global expression data reveals known and novel salicylate-impacted processes and regulators mediating powdery mildew growth and reproduction on Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 149: 1435-1451. PDF

Zhang, N.R., Wildermuth, M.C., and T.P.Speed (2008) Transcription factor binding site prediction with multivariate gene expression data. Annals of Applied Statistics 2: 332-365. PDF Supplement

Jones, A.M., Lindow, S.E., and M.C. Wildermuth (2007) Salicylic acid, yersiniabactin, and pyoverdin production by the model phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000: Synthesis, regulation, and impact on tomato and Arabidopsis host plants. Journal of Bacteriology 189: 6773-6786. PDF Supplement

Nobuta, K., Okrent, R.A., Stoutemyer, M., Rodibaugh, N., Kempema, L., *^Wildermuth, M.C., and R.W. *Innes (2007) The GH3 acyl adenylase family member PBS3 regulates salicylic acid-dependent defense responses in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 144: 1144-1156. * co-senior authors; ^corresponding author. PDF Supplement

Strawn, M.A., Marr, S.K., Inoue, K., Inada, N., Zubieta, C., and M.C. Wildermuth (2006) Arabidopsis isochorismate synthase functional in pathogen-induced salicylate biosynthesis exhibits properties consistent with a role in diverse stress responses. Journal of Biological Chemistry 282: 5919-5933. PDF

M.C. Wildermuth (2006) Variations on a theme: synthesis and modification of plant benzoic acids. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 9: 288-296. PDF

Inada, N. and M.C. Wildermuth (2004) Novel tissue preparation method and cell-specific marker for laser microdissection of Arabidopsis mature leaf. Planta 221:9-16. PDF

Gu, Y.-Q., Wildermuth, M.C., Chakravarthy, S., Loh, Y.-T., Yang, C., He, X., Han, Y., and G.B. Martin (2002) Tomato transcription factors Pti4, Pti5, and Pti6 activate defense responses in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 14: 817-831. PDF

Wildermuth, M.C., Dewdney, J., Wu, G., and F.M. Ausubel (2001) Isochorismate synthase is required to synthesize salicylic acid for plant defense. Nature 414: 562-565. PDF Supplemental Figure Supplemental Table

Dewdney, J., Reuber, T.L., Wildermuth, M.C., Devoto, A., Cuit, J., Stutius, L.M., Drummond, E.P., and F.M. Ausubel (2000) Three unique mutants of Arabidopsis identify EDS loci required for limiting growth of a biotrophic fungal pathogen. Plant Journal 24: 205-218. PDF

Guenther, A., Archer, S., Greenberg, J., Harley, P., Helmig, D., Klinger, L. Vierling, L., Wildermuth, M., Zimmerman, P., and S. Zitzer (1999) Biogenic hydrocarbon emissions and landcover/climate change in a subtropical savanna. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 24: 659-667.

Fall, R. and M.C. Wildermuth (1998) Isoprene synthase: from biochemical mechanism to emission algorithm. Journal of Geophysical Research 103: 25,599-25,609.

Wildermuth, M.C. and R. Fall (1998) Biochemical characterization of stromal and thylakoid-bound isoforms of isoprene synthase in willow leaves. Plant Physiology 116: 1111-1121.

Wildermuth, M.C. and R. Fall (1996) Light-dependent isoprene emission: Characterization of a thylakoid-bound isoprene synthase in Salix discolor chloroplasts. Plant Physiology 112: 171-82.

Monson, R.K., Harley, P.C., Litvak, M.E., Wildermuth, M., Guenther, A.B., Zimmerman, P.R., and R. Fall (1994) Environmental and developmental controls over the seasonal pattern of isoprene emission from aspen leaves. Oecologia 99: 260-270.

Guenther, A., Zimmerman, P. and M. Wildermuth (1994) Natural volatile organic compound emission rate estimates for U.S. woodland landscapes. Atmospheric Environment 28: 1197-1210.

Honors and Awards

UC Berkeley Chancellor's Community Partnership Grant - 2014

Berkeley Public School Foundation BeAScientist Program Award - 2014

Bakar Fellowship - University of California, Berkeley - 2013

NSF Creativity Extension Award - 2013

Winkler Family Foundation Award - Winkler Family Foundation - 2007

Presidential Chair Fellow - University of California, Berkeley - 2005

Neish Young Investigator Award - Phytochemistry Society of North America - 2005

USDA National Research Initiative Award, Postdoctoral Fellowship - USDA - 2000

NIAID Mechanisms in Bacterial Pathogenesis, Postdoctoral Fellowship - Harvard Medical School - 1998