Academy funding for research of bacteria mechanisms in pine

Associate Professor Anna Maria Pirttilä with her research group has received 526 000 euros funding from the Academy of Finland for research of bacteria mechanisms in pine.

The research group has identified Methylobacterium spp. living in the cells of pine bud meristems. These bacteria colonize pine seedlings through rhizobia-like mechanisms and increase host growth to the same extent as mycorrhizal

fungi. Once inside pine cells, they aggregate around the nucleus and can directly interfere with pine metabolism.

The research group will elucidate these mechanisms by identifying genes activated, and by tracing compound transfer between the organisms. The research will produce essential information on a novel symbiosis by elucidating mechanisms of manipulating host cells by intracellular bacteria. The study has potential to identify new targets for intracellular pathogens.

Last updated: 16.5.2018