Laboratories and faculty

Plant Immunity

Prof. Saijo
SAIJO Yusuke mail icon
Assistant Professor
YASUDA Shigetaka mail icon
INOUE Kanako mail icon
Labs HP

Outline of Research and Education

In nature, plants host a rich diversity of microbes, ranging from mutualistic symbionts to pathogens. The mode and outcome of plant-microbe interactions, including crop disease epidemics, are profoundly influenced by environmental factors, such as light, temperatures, water and nutrients. We aim to decipher the mechanisms by which plants sense and integrate biotic and abiotic cues to monitor and manage their associations with microbes under fluctuating environments. Our major research topics include (1) immune receptor signaling, biotic-abiotic stress signaling crosstalk, (2) functional significance and infection strategies of mutualistic-pathogenic microbes and (3) field dynamics and exploitation of plant-associated microbiome. We hope our studies will reveal key principles underlying host-microbe interactions and contribute to developing human and biological resources for future sciences and sustainable agriculture.

Major Research Topics

  1. Danger sensing and signaling in plant immunity
  2. Signal integration between biotic and abiotic stress responses
  3. Mutualistic and pathogenic microbes in plants
  4. Plant-associated microbiomes
Fig. 1 Host-microbe-environment interactions provide a critical basis for host survival and health, and represent key questions in life sciences. We aim to better understand the underlying molecular principles and mechanisms in plants.
Fig. 2 A basic framework for plant immunity signaling and its environmental modulation. Cell surface detection of microbe/damage-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs/DAMPs) by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) triggers intracellular defense signaling. We pursue the mechanisms by which plants integrate biotic and abiotic stress signaling. See Saijo and Loo, New Phytologist 2020.
Fig. 3 Root colonization of endophyte Colletotrichum tofieldiae (Ct). Confocal microscopy reveals invasion of GFP-expressing Ct (green, labeled by dotted lines) into Arabidopsis roots (VAMP722-mRFP, Red). Intracellular fungal hyphae inside root cortical cells are enveloped by host membranes (PIP2A-mCherry, arrows). Bar = 10 μm.


  1. Okada et al, New Phytologist, 229, 2844-2858, 2021
  2. Saijo & Loo, New Phytologist, 225, 87-104, 2020 Tansley Review
  3. Saijo et al., Plant J., 93, 592-613, 2018
  4. Shinya et al., Plant J., 94, 4, 626-637, 2018
  5. Yasuda et al, Curr Opin Plant Biol, 38, 10-18, 2017
  6. Ariga et al, Nature Plants, 3, 17072, 2017
  7. Yamada et al, Science, 354, 1427-1430, 2016
  8. Espinas et al, Front. Plant Sci., 7, 1201, 2016
  9. Hiruma et al, Cell, 165, 464-474, 2016
  10. Yamada et al, EMBO J., 35, 46-61, 2016
  11. Ross et al., EMBO J., 33, 62-75, 2014
  12. Tintor et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 110, 6211-6216, 2013
  13. Serrano et al., Plant Physiol., 158, 408-422, 2012
  14. Lu et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 106, 22522-22527, 2009
  15. Saijo et al., EMBO J., 28, 3439-3449, 2009