Professor Dr. Ulla Bonas

Academic Director

Professor Dr. Ulla Bonas studied Biology at the University of Cologne from 1974 to 1980. In 1984, she completed her PhD thesis in Genetics at the University of Cologne with a dissertation entitled In-vitro cloning of a transposable element in the chalcone synthase gene of Antirrhinum majus. From 1985 to 1987 she worked as a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley, supported by fellowships from DAAD, DFG and the Max-Planck society. From 1988 to 1993 she was the Leader of an Independent Research Group at the Institute of Genbiologische Forschung Berlin GmbH. In 1992, she habilitated in Genetics at the Freie Universität Berlin in 1992 with a thesis on Molecular genetic analysis of the interaction between Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria and the plant. From 1993 to 1998 Ulla Bonas was a Groupleader (Directeur de Recherche; permanent) at the CNRS Institut des Sciences Végétales in Gif-sur-Yvette, France. Since 1998 she is a Full Professor of Genetics at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. Her research is focused on the genetic and molecular analysis of resistance and pathogenicity in the Xanthomonas/plant interaction.

Ulla Bonas is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and in 2011 received the prestigious Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Price of the German Research Foundation (DFG). Since 2008 she is a member of the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences, and since 2015 she is vice-president of the Leopoldina.

Publications and patents
  • Publications of the last 10 years
  • Erickson JL, Adlung N, Lampe C, Bonas U and Schattat MH (2018) The Xanthomonas effector XopL uncovers the role of microtubules in stromule extension and dynamics in Nicotiana benthamiana. Plant J: in press
  • Blüher D, Laha D, Thieme S, Hofer A, Eschen-Lippold L, Masch A, Balcke G, Pavlovic I, Nagel O, Schonsky A, Hinkelmann R, Wörner J, Parvin N, Greiner R, Weber S, Tissier A, Schutkowski M, Lee J, Jessen H, Schaaf G and Bonas U (2017) A 1-phytase type III effector interferes with plant homone signaling. Nature Comm 8: 2159, doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-02195-8
  • Abendroth U, Adlung N, Otto A, Grüneisen B, Becher D and Bonas U (2017) Identification of new protein-coding genes with a potential role in the virulence of the plant pathogen Xanthomonas euvesicatoria. BMC Genomics 18: 625, doi 10.1186/s12864-017-4041-7
  • Adlung N and Bonas U (2017) Dissecting virulence function from recognition – cell death suppression in Nicotiana benthamiana by XopQ/HopQ1-family effectors relies on EDS1-dependent immunity. Plant J doi: 10.1111/tpj.13578
  • Adlung N, Prochaska H, Thieme S, Banik A, Blüher D, John P, Nagel O, Schulze S, Gantner J, Delker C, Stuttmann J und Bonas U (2016) Non-host resistance induced by the Xanthomonas effector XopQ is widespread within the genus Nicotiana and functionally depends on EDS1. Front Plant Sci 7: 1796, doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.01796
  • Müller OA, Grau J, Thieme S, Prochaska H, Adlung N, Sorgatz A and Bonas U (2015) Genome-wide identification and validation of reference genes in infected tomato leaves for quantitative RT-PCR analyses. PLoS ONE 10: e0136499. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136499
  • Schreiber T, Sorgatz A, List F, Blüher D, Thieme S, Wilmanns M and Bonas U (2015) Refined requirements for protein regions important for activity of the TALE AvrBs3. PLoS ONE 17: e0120214. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.01020214
  • Schreiber T and Bonas U (2014) Repeat 1 of TAL effectors affects target specificity for the base at position zero. Nucleic Acids Res 42: 7160–7169. doi: 10.1093/nar/gku341
  • Grau J, Wolf A, Reschke M, Bonas U, Posch S and Boch J (2013) Computational predictions provide insights into the biology of TAL effector target sites. PLoS Comput Biol 9: e1002962
  • Schmidtke C, Abendroth U, Brock J, Serrania J, Becker A and Bonas U. (2013) Small RNA sX13 – a multifaceted regulator of virulence in the plant pathogen Xanthomonas. PLoS Pathog 9: e1003626
  • Singer AU, Schulze S, Skarina T, Xu X, Cui H, Eschen-Lippold L, Egler M, Srikumar T, Raught B, Lee J, Scheel D, Savchenko A, Bonas U. (2013) A pathogen type III effector with a novel E3 ubiquitin ligase architecture. PLoS Pathog 9: e1003121
  • Schulze S, Kay S, Büttner D, Egler M, Eschen-Lippold L, Hause G, Krüger A, Lee J, Müller O, Scheel D, Szczesny R, Thieme F and Bonas U (2012) Analysis of new type III effectors from Xanthomonas uncovers XopB and XopS as suppressors of plant immunity. New Phytol 195: 894 – 911
  • Schmidtke C, Findeiß S, Sharma CM, Kuhfuß J, Hoffmann S, Vogel J, Stadler PF and Bonas U (2012) Genome-wide transcriptome analysis of the plant pathogen Xanthomonas identifies sRNAs with putative virulence functions. Nucleic Acids Res 40: 2020-2031
  • Geißler R, Scholze H, Hahn S, Streubel J, Bonas U, Behrens S E and Boch J (2011) Transcriptional activators of human genes with programmable DNA-specificity. PLoS ONE 6: e19509
  • Szczesny R, Jordan M, Schramm C, Schulz S, Cogez V, Bonas U and Büttner D (2010) Functional characterization of the Xcs and Xps type II secretion ATPase HrcN from the plant pathogen Xathomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria. New Phytol 187: 983-1002
  • Szczesny R, Büttner D, Escolar L, Schulze S, Seiferth A and Bonas U (2010) Suppression of the AvrBs1-specific hypersensitive response by the YopJ effector homolog AvrBsT from Xanthomonas depends on a SNF1-related kinase. New Phytol 187: 1058-1074
  • Berger C, Robin GP, Bonas U and Koebnik R (2010) Membrane topology of conserved components of the type III secretion system from the plant pathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria. Microbiology 156 (7): 1963-1974
  • Findeiß S, Schmidtke C, Stadler PF and Bonas U (2010) A novel family of plasmid-transferred anti-sense ncRNAs. RNA Biology 7: 1-5
  • Boch J, Scholze H, Schornack S, Landgraf A, Hahn S, Kay S, Lahaye T, Nickstadt A and Bonas U (2009) Breaking the code of DNA-binding specificity of TAL-type III effectors. Science 326: 1509-1512
  • Gürlebeck D, Jahn S, Gürlebeck N, Szczesny R, Szurek B, Hahn S, Hause G and Bonas U (2009) Visualization of novel virulence activities of the Xanthomonas type III effectors AvrBs1, AvrBs3 and AvrBs4. Mol Plant Pathol 10: 175-188
  • Kay S, Hahn S, Marois E, Wieduwild R and Bonas U (2009) Detailed analysis of the DNA recognition motifs of the Xanthomonas type III effectors AvrBs3 and AvrBs3∆rep16. Plant J 59: 859-871
  • Römer P, Strauss T, Hahn S, Scholze H, Morbitzer R, Grau J, Bonas U and Lahaye T (2009) Recognition of AvrBs3-like proteins is mediated by specific binding to promoters of matching pepper Bs3 alleles. Plant Physiol 150: 1697-1712
  • Lorenz C, Schulz S, Wolsch T, Rossier O, Bonas U and Büttner D (2008) HpaC controls substrate specificity of the Xanthomonas type III secretion system. PLoS Path 4: e1000094
  • Lorenz C, Kirchner O, Egler M, Stuttmann J, Bonas U and Büttner D (2008) HpaA from Xanthomonas is a regulator of type III secretion. Mol Microbiol 69: 344-360
  • Selected earlier publications
  • Kay S, Hahn S, Marois E, Hause G, Bonas U (2007).
    A bacterial effector acts as a plant transcription factor and induces a cell size regulator. Science 318: 648-651
    Link to abstract on Science   
    Link to abstract on PubMed   
  • Römer P, Hahn S, Jordan T, Strauß T, Bonas U, Lahaye T (2007) .
    Plant pathogen recognition mediated by promoter activation of the Pepper Bs3 resistance gene. Science 318: 645-648
    Link to abstract on Science   
    Link to abstract on PubMed   
  • Van den Ackerveken G, Marois E, Bonas U (1996)
    Recognition of the bacterial avirulence protein AvrBs3 occurs inside the host plant cell. Cell 87: 1307-1316
    Link to abstract on Pubmed   
  • Herbers K, Conrads-Strauch J, Bonas U (1992)
    Race-specificity of plant resistance to bacterial spot disease determined by repetitive motifs in a bacterial avirulence protein. Nature 356: 172-174
  • Patents
  • Bonas U, Boch J, Schornack S and Lahaye T (2010) Modular DNA-binding domains and methods of use.
  • Lahaye T, Römer P, Schornack S, Boch J and Bonas U (2010) Pathogen-inducible promoters and their use in enhancing the disease resistance of plants.
  • Bonas U, Lahaye T and Römer P. (2008) Bs3 resistance gene and methods of use.
  • Büttner D and Bonas U (2004). Bacterial system for protein transport in eukaryotic cells.




Contact through the secretary of the academic director: 
Kathleen Carls

Phone +49 3834 420 5001
Fax +49 3834 420 5005