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Krasileva Lab

Black lives matter

231 Koshland Hall, Berkeley CA 94720 kseniak [at] berkeley.edu.

Who we are and what we do

Krasileva lab an inter-disciplinary group of people who combine new technologies, basic and translational research. Our common goal is to understand plant innate immunity, a system that maintains plant health. We focus on evolution and function of plant immune genes, as well as the mechanisms that regulate genetic diversity.

We are part of Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at the University of California Berkeley.  If you are interested in becoming part of the group, here is how you can approach us:

  • undergraduate research: reach out to any group member. You can also use our contact form.
  • graduate students: for rotation, please come and see me. For applying to Berkeley, please, see description of our graduate programs in Microbiology and Plant Biology. At our department, there is no direct admission of graduate students to the labs.
  • postdocs: if you would like to write postdoctoral fellowships with us, please send me the fellowship you have in mind and your CV.
  • staff: occassionally, positions become available. Please, watch this space or send us a note.

To read more about specific research projects visit About us and Publications. Our lab culture is summarized in the Krasileva Lab Charter

If you have any questions about Krasileva Lab and what we do, e-mail, tweet, come and meet us in person. Look for the updates on the conferences we plan to attend on this page. We are always happy to see you on campus.

- Ksenia

Lab News

July 18, 2020 - Collaborative preprint on NLR phylogenomics and binding sites prediction

A new preprint from the lab (link). We applied phylogeny-based clustering and information theory to examine the evolution of plant NLR immune receptors. The question we sought to answer was: how can plants with only innate immune receptors develop new recognition specificities? We found that a subset of plant NLRs are highly variable and this variation mostly clusters on the surfaces of their C-terminal LRR and post-LRR domains. We also made a key observation that recognition of plant's own molecules adapted for indirect recognition of pathogen activity on the cell evolved as a functional byproduct of direct recognition of any molecules (mostly used to catch pathogen-derived proteins). This unifies a previously proposed 'Birth and Death' theory of plant immunity evolution (Michelmore and Meyers, 1998) with current understanding of how these receptors function inside the cell.

This study is a product of long-term discussions with Daniil Prigozhin who has been trained in mathematics, molecular and cellular biology and structural biology and is currently a project scientist at LBNL (and for full COI disclosure, Ksenia's husband).

June 5th, 2020 - Lab statement against racism

In Krasileva Lab, we condemn any racist actions, opinions and behavior. We aim to be proactively anti-racist and help to introduce structural and societal change.

Please, take a minute to read a powerful message written by Marco Lindsey, Associate Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Haas School of Business "Thoughts from your Black colleague"

If you do not have time, this is the essence: "If you read no further, understand this: Black Lives Matter = if anyone kills a Black person, their punishment should be the same as if they killed someone from any other race."

June 3rd, 2020 - A new paper led by Erin comes out in The Plant Cell

We have a new publication from the lab (link). Conceptualized and led by a graduate student Erin L Baggs, our new study provides a comparative analysis of plant immune receptors and signaling pathways across plants. Erin discovered that at least five plant species that belong to different lineages, including duckweed and asparagus, convergently lost most of NLR immune receptors as well as a key EDS1/PAD4 signaling pathway. Erin took this analysis further to look for other genes convergently lost in these species and predicted other possible components of plant immunity. She also uncovered an intriguing link between immunity and drought response that connects these genes on a transcriptional level.

Baggs et al Plant Cell "Convergent Loss of an EDS1/PAD4 Signaling Pathway in Several Plant Lineages Reveals Co-evolved Components of Plant Immunity and Drought Response" The Plant Cell 2020 (link)

Recognizing Plant Cell authors: Erin Baggs (link)

Plantae IN BRIEF: ASTREL Projection: Comparative Phylogenomics Uncovers Novel Genes Co-eliminated with the EDS1 Immune Pathway (link)

May 11, 2020 - New PhD student joins the lab

A very warm welcome to Frances (Grace) Stark who joins the lab this year. Grace got her BSc in University of Texas at Austin. She is "a mycologist fascinated by plant/fungal symbioses and the molecular mechanisms driving their relationships!" Whoo hoo!

New collaborative pre-print: Wolffia genome has only 1 NLR left

Todd P. Michael, Evan Ernst, Nolan Hartwick, Philomena Chu, Douglas Bryant, Sarah Gilbert, Stefan Ortleb, Erin L. BaggsK. Sowjanya Sree, Klaus J. Appenroth, Joerg Fuchs, Florian Jupe, Justin P. Sandoval, Ksenia V. Krasileva, Ljudmylla Borisjuk, Todd C. Mockler, Joseph R. Ecker, Robert A. Martienssen, Eric Lam "Genome and time-of-day transcriptome of Wolffia australiana link morphological extreme minimization with un-gated plant growth" bioRxiv April 2020 (link)

Our analyses of the genome of a duckweed Wolffia reveals a single canonical NLR (plus 2 non-canonical) in its reductionist immune system. NLR work by Erin L. Baggs.

Collaborative paper describes NLR in wheat

Burkhard Steuernagel, Kamil Witek, Simon G. Krattinger, Ricardo H. Ramirez-Gonzalez, Henk-jan Schoonbeek, Guotai Yu, Erin Baggs, Agnieszka Witek, Inderjit Yadav, Ksenia V Krasileva, Jonathan D Jones, Cristobal Uauy, Beat Keller, Christopher James Ridout, Brande B Wulff "The NLR-Annotator tool enables annotation of the intracellular immune receptor repertoire" Plant Physiology March 2020 (link)

This paper describes a new tool, NLR-Annotator developed by Dr Burkhard Steuernagel that can mine for NLR motifs in unannotated genomes. We have used NLR-Annotator on a number of genomes in our studies, and find it very useful and complementary to other approaches, such as domain-based searches implemented in plant_rgenes. We now routinely use NLR-Annotator as a quality check of NLR annotations in proteomes.

Secondly, this paper carefully catalogs NLRs in hexaploid wheat and provides an annotated phylogeny which is openly available in interactive mode (link).

New review article from our lab

Janina Tamborski and Ksenia Krasileva "Evolution of Plant NLRs: From Natural History to Precise Modifications" Annual Review of Plant Biology v71, 2020 (link)

Welcome China Lunde Shaw, our new lab manager!

Joseph Brodsky once said "A school is a factory is a poem is a prison is academia is boredom, with flashes of panic" (J. Brodsky, Less than One, 1976). We are excited for China to join our lab, she will keep down our flashes of panic when it comes to lab organization, ordering and running the lab while enjoying the bits of poetry that is research.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Innovator 2019 Fellowship

We are thrilled to have our first grant at UC Berkeley. Ksenia and our lab were selected as one of only 5 recipients of the grant this year. The grant is focused on sustainable agriculture and boosting plant health through new protein engineering approaches (akin to antibody therapy for us humans) that will be able to recognize invading pathogens. This project stems directly from our discovery of plant immune receptors naturally prone to new protein fusions that can function as 'baits' for the pathogen.

Read The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation announcement.

Pierre awarded Grace Kase Fellowship

Congratulations Pierre on receiving Grace Kase Graduate Fellowship Award 2019-2020 to investigate evolution of 'Genomes under stress'.

New preprint: What genomics can tell us about aquatic vs terrestrial plant lifestyle

Erin Baggs has her new paper out on bioarxiv preprint: "Convergent gene loss in aquatic plants predicts new components of plant immunity and drought response"

Welcome our first rotation students at Berkeley!

Two new students, Pierre Joubert (microbiology) and Lorenzo Washington (plant) start their 3rd rotation with us today. Welcome to the Lab.

Other News