Heimel, Kai, Prof. Dr.
apl. Professor for Microbial Cell Biology
- 01/2019-03/2019: Guest Professor (invited), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
- Since 04/2018: apl. Professor for Microbial Cell Biology, Georg-August-University Göttingen
- 04/2012-03/2018: Junior Professor for Microbial Cell Biology, Georg-August-University Göttingen
- 2012: Teaching stand-in for W3 Professorship of Genetics and Cell Biology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
- 2010-2011: Postdoctoral fellow at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
- 2010: Dr. rer. nat., Philipps-University Marburg
- 2005 - 2010: Doctoral thesis, Max-Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) (Germany)
- 2000 - 2005: Diploma (Biology), Philipps-University Marburg (Germany)
Major Research Interests
Our lab investigates how communication between pathogenic fungi and their plant hosts is achieved. Previous studies revealed an intricate regulatory network between highly conserved signaling pathways and development- and lifestyle-specific regulators, leading to mutual modulation and adaptation of cellular signaling to changing environments. Of central interest is the unfolded protein response (UPR), which serves as a regulatory hub and dominant regulator of fungal virulence.
Specific research interests are:
Homepage Department/Research Group
Selected Recent Publications
- Schmitz L, Schwier MA, Heimel K (2019) The unfolded protein response regulates pathogenic development of Ustilago maydis by Rok1-dependent inhibition of mating-type signaling. mBio 10(6):e02756-19
- Schmitz L, Kronstad JW, Heimel K (2019) Conditional gene expression reveals stage-specific functions of the unfolded protein response in the Ustilago maydis–maize pathosystem. Molecular Plant Pathology 21(2):258-271
- Pinter N, Hach CA, Hampel M, Rekhter D, Zienkiewicz K, Feussner I, Poehlein A, Daniel R, Finkernagel F, Heimel K (2019) Signal peptide peptidase activity connects the unfolded protein response to plant defense suppression by Ustilago maydis. PLoS Pathog. Apr 18;15(4):e1007734. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007734. eCollection 2019 Apr.
- Schmitz L, McCotter S, Kretschmer M, Kronstad JW, Heimel K (2018) Transcripts and tumors: regulatory and metabolic programming during biotrophic phytopathogenesis. F1000Res. Nov 19;7. pii: F1000 Faculty Rev-1812. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.16404.1. eCollection 2018.
- Hampel M, Jakobi M, Schmitz L, Meyer U, Finkernagel F, Doehlemann G, Heimel K (2016) Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) Regulator Cib1 Controls Expression of Genes Encoding Secreted Virulence Factors in Ustilago maydis. PLoS One 11: e0153861.
- Lo Presti L, López Díaz C, Turrà D, Di Pietro A, Hampel M, Heimel K, Kahmann R (2015) A conserved co-chaperone is required for virulence in fungal plant pathogens. New Phytol 209(3): 1135-1148.
- Kellner N, Heimel K, Obhof T, Finkernagel F, Kämper J (2014) The SPF27 homologue Num1 connects splicing and kinesin 1-dependent cytoplasmic trafficking in Ustilago maydis. PLoS Genetics 10: e1004046; featured in Faculty of 1000 prime
- Heimel K, Freitag J, Hampel M, Ast J, Bölker M, Kämper J (2013) Crosstalk between the Unfolded Protein Response and Pathways That Regulate Pathogenic Development in Ustilago maydis. Plant Cell 25: 4262-4277.
- Heimel K, Scherer M, Vranes M, Wahl R, Pothiratana C, Schuler D, Vincon V, Finkernagel F, Flor-Parra I, Kämper J (2010) The transcription factor Rbf1 is the master regulator for b-mating type controlled pathogenic development in Ustilago maydis. PLoS Pathogens: 6(8):e1001035. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1001035. PMID: 20700446
- Heimel K, Scherer M, Schuler D, Kämper J (2010) The Ustilago maydis Clp1 Protein Orchestrates Pheromone and b-Dependent Signaling Pathways to Coordinate the Cell Cycle and Pathogenic Development. Plant Cell (8): 2908-22.
- Heimel K, Scherer M, Vranes M, Wahl R, Pothiratana C, Schuler D, Vincon V, Finkernagel F, Flor-Parra I, Kämper J (2010) The transcription factor Rbf1 is the master regulator for b-mating type controlled pathogenic development in Ustilago maydis. PLoS Pathogens 6(8):e1001035