FWF Elise Richter Fellowship

Duration 15.09.2016 to 14.12.2020

Project FWF V-499

The ascomycete Trichoderma is long known for its antagonistic behavior towards plant pathogenic fungi. This mycoparasitic interaction has been investigated in many details but primarily regarding their capability in sensing, suppressing and lysis of the phytopathogenic hosts, by employing metabolites and a battery of hydrolytic and proteolytic enzymes. It has recently become evident that cell wall turn over might also contribute to the mycoparasitic ability of Trichoderma spp. as they substantially (re)model their cell periphery during the interaction with host fungi. Since information on the mechanisms of cell wall assembly in filamentous fungi such as in Trichoderma spp. is still scarce it shall be the primary focus of the proposed project.


Chitin and particularly the deacetylated chitosan are critical components of the fungal cell wall. Since they play a major role in the defense mechanism of various fungi, they might critically account for specific aspects of mycoparasitism. We will analyze the synergistic behavior of chitin and chitosan remodeling enzymes during mycoparasitism and in hyphal development. Moreover, in situ monitoring of chitosan and chitin deposition will be performed.

Taken together, the proposal is designed to mine truly novel insights into the principles of enzymatic cell wall turnover during vegetative growth and host attack in mycoparasitic Trichoderma species and thereby possibly leading to improved biocontrol strains.