apl. Prof. Dr. Christine Struck

University of Rostock
Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Institute for Land Use
- Crop Health -
Satower Str. 48
18051 Rostock

Phone: -49-381/498-3167
Fax: -49-381/498-118 3162

Scientific Career

  • 1986: Diploma in Biology, University of Kiel,
  • 1990: PhD (Dr. sc. agr.), University of Göttingen,
  • 1991: Master (M. sc. agr.) University of Göttingen,
  • 1993-1995: DFG-Postdoc fellow at University of Konstanz,
  • 1995-2004: Research Associate at the Department of Biology, University of Konstanz
  • 2002: Habilitation (venia legendi) in Phytopatholgy and Plant Physiology
  • Since Oct. 2004: Senior Scientist and Lecturer, University of Rostock

Fields of Research

1. Biology of plant/fungus interaction - with special emphasis on biotrophic parasitic fungi

Plant parasitic fungi affect agricultural crops as well as wild plants and cause severe biomass losses. With regard to their lifestyles one can distinguish between necrotrophs which colonize the host tissue by immediately killing the cells - and biotrophs which are growing on living host tissue only. Fungi of the latter group obtain their nutrients from plant cells and represent a sink within the tissue of their host plants. Nutrient availability of biotrophic plant pathogenic fungi marks an important environmental change from the penetration phase of the fungi to their parasitic phase within the plant tissue. A few days later another major nutritional change occurs: the switch to the sporulation phase, during which the fungi synthesize storage substances of the spores. We are currently working on the following question. How do biotrophic plant parasitic fungi and plants interact at physiological and nutritional level?

2. Development of molecular based diagnostic tools of fungal plant pathogens

To improve disease management and control plant diseases effectively requires infomation about which diseases are present, and how much. Molecular markers can improve disease diagnosis by enabling fast and accurate identification of harmful fungi before disease symptoms develop. Our aim is the development and use of molecular based diagnostic tools of fungal plant pathogens with special emphasis on soil-borne fungi.
Research topics in detail:

  • Influence of rust infection on the nitrogen metabolism of Medicago truncatula
    Rust infected plants loose large amounts of nutrients by feeding the pathogen. In time course experiments we study the regulation of expression of M. truncatula N-metabolite transporter genes and genes of ammonium-assimilating enzymes after inoculation with Uromyces striatus.
  • Resistance of Medicago truncatula against the rust fungus U. striatus
    After Screening 120 cultivars and lines of natural populations of M. truncatula ( kindly provided by J.M. Prosperi, INRA, Montpellier) for reaction to U. striatus infection we have characterized different reaction types ranging from susceptible to highly resistance at the histological level (Kemen et al., Phytopatholgy 95, 153-157, 2005). The aim now is to genetically characterize resistance genes in M. truncatula to use these genes in economically important legumes.
  • In collaboration with Leonor Guerra-Guimarães and Helena Azinheira, Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical, Oeiras, Portugal: Defense reactions of coffee (Coffea arabica) to the coffee leaf rust Hemileia vastatrix.
  • Development of a PCR-based detection of soil-borne plant pathogens using the fungal rDNA
    Sequences of the rDNA ITS (internal transcribed spacer) are useful in comparing species or populations. Analysis of these sequences represents a basis for disease diagnosis. The aim of the current work is the design of PCR primers from the ITS sequences that allow the identification of different soil-borne pathogens of legumes by PCR amplification.

Selected Publications

Ritter C, de Mol F, Richter E, Struck C & Katroschan K-U. (2016). Antipredator behavioral traits of some Agriotes wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae) and their potential implications for species identification. Journal of Insect Behavior 29, 214-232.

Jacob I, Hartmann S, Schubiger FX & Struck C (2015). Resistance screening of red clover cultivars to Colletotrichum trifolii and improving the resistance level through recurrent selection. Euphytica 204, 303–310.

Struck C (2015). Amino acid uptake in rust fungi. Frontiers in Plant Science 6, 40. doi:10.3389/fpls.2015.00040

Strehlow B, de Mol F & Struck, C. (2015). Risk potential of clubroot disease on winter oilseed rape. Plant Disease 99, 667-675.

Strehlow B, de Mol F & Struck C. (2014). Standorteigenschaften und Anbaumanagement erklären regionale Unterschiede im Kohlherniebefall in Deutschland. Gesunde Pflanzen 66, 157–164.

Strehlow B, de Mol F & Struck C. (2014). History of oilseed rape cropping and geographic origin influence the genetic structure of Plasmodiophora brassicae populations. Phytopathology 104, 532-538.

Shaikh M & Struck C. (2013). Studies on penetration, infection and colonization of lupin roots infected by Thielaviopsis basicola. Science Research Reporter 3, 97-101.

Ströcker K, Wendt S, Kirchner WH & Struck. (2013). Feeding preferences of the weevils Sitona gressorius and Sitona griseus on different lupin genotypes and the role of alkaloids. Arthropod-Plant Interactions 7, 579-589.

Pfabel C, Eckhardt K-U, Baum C, Struck C, Frey P & Weih M (2012). Impact of ectomycorrhizal colonization and rust infection on the secondary metabolism of poplar (Populus trichocarpa × deltoides). Tree Physiology 32, 1357-1364.

Guerra-Guimarães L, Silva MC, Struck C, Loureiro A, Nicole M, Rodrigues Jr. CJ & Ricardo CPP. (2009). Chitinases of Coffea arabica genotypes resistant to orange rust Hemileia vastatrix. Biologia Plantarum 53, 702-706.

Thalmann R, Kaufmann K & Struck C. (2008). Schwarze Wurzelfäule bei Blauen Lupinen - frühzeitige und spezifische Detektion des Erregers Thielaviopsis basicola. Gesunde Pflanzen 60, 67-75.

Struck C. (2006). Infection strategies of fungal plant pathogens. In: The Epidemiology of Plant Diseases. M. Cooke, B.M.; Jones, D.G.; Kaye, B. (eds.) The Epidemiology of Plant Diseases. Springer, Dordrecht. pp 117 - 137.

Kemen E, Hahn M, Mendgen K & Struck C. (2005). Different resistance mechanisms of Medicago truncatula ecotypes against the rust fungus Uromyces striatus. Phytopathology 95, 153-157.

Tilsner J, Kassner N, Struck C & Lohaus G. (2005). Amino acid contents and transport in oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) under different nitrogen conditions. Planta 221, 328-338.

Struck C, Mueller E, Martin H & Lohaus G. (2004). The Uromyces fabae UfAAT3 gene encodes a general amino acid permease that prefers uptake of in planta scarce amino acids. Molecular Plant Pathology 5, 183-189.

Struck C, Voegele RT, Hahn M & Mendgen K. (2004). Rust haustoria as sink in plant tissues or – how to survive in leaves. In: Biology of Plant Microbe Interactions, Vol. 4. Eds.: B. Lugtenberg, I. Tikhonovich, N. Provorov, International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, St. Paul. pp 177-179.

Struck C, Ernst M & Hahn M. (2002). Characterization of a developmentally regulated amino acid transporter (AAT1p) of the rust fungus Uromyces fabae. Molecular Plant Pathology 3, 23-30.

Voegele RT, Struck C, Hahn M & Mendgen K (2001). The role of haustoria in sugar supply during infection of broad bean by the rust fungus Uromyces fabae. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA 98, 8133-8138.

Mendgen K, Struck C, Voegele RT & Hahn M. (2000). Biotrophy and rust haustoria. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology 56, 141-145.