Profile Image

Tesfaye Mengiste

Botany and Plant Pathology 

  • Associate Department Head of Research
  • Professor
Lilly Hall Room G-452

Research in my lab focuses on molecular mechanisms of plant responses to economically important fungal pathogens which reduce crop productivity worldwide.  Critical genetic components of plant resistance are identified through genetic and genomic approaches in the model plant Arabidopsis, and two crop plants tomato and sorghum.  By applying genetic, molecular, and biochemical approaches, we seek to determine how these key components regulate plant immune responses required for resistance.  Molecular and biochemical mechanisms of tomato resistance are studied with a focus on the role of tomato receptor like pathogens.  In parallel, attempts are made to translate some of the findings into genetic improvement of crops for disease resistance.  In sorghum, the natural variation in the germplasm is being explored to identify genes or genomic regions that confer broad-spectrum resistance to anthracnose and grain mold diseases.  The overarching goal is to expedite genetic improvement of sorghum to increase productivity in disease prone sorghum producing regions.

Current research areas

  • Arabidopsis immune response signaling, including the role of receptor kinases, transcription regulators and co-regulators, and chromatin modification in fungal and bacterial resistance.
  • Molecular mechanisms of tomato resistance to fungal pathogens, with a focus on role of receptor like kinases, regulators of induced systemic resistance to gray mold disease cause by Botrytis cinerea and early blight cause by Alternaria solani.
  • Genetic improvement of sorghum for resistance to fungal pathogens.  Mechanisms of sorghum resistance to the parasitic weed Striga hermonthica.

Awards & Honors

(2015) University Faculty Scholar. Purdue University.

Selected Publications

Gobena, D., Shimels, M., Rich, P. J., Ruyter-Spira, C., Bouwmeester, H., Kanuganti, S., . . . Ejeta, G. (2017). Mutation in sorghum LOW GERMINATION STIMULANT 1 alters strigolactones and causes Striga resistance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(17), 4471-4476. doi:10.1073/pnas.1618965114

Liao, C. J., Lai, Z., Lee, S., Yun, D. J., & Mengiste, T. (2016). Arabidopsis HOOKLESS1 regulates responses to pathogens and abscisic acid through interaction with MED18 and acetylation of WRKY33 and ABI5 chromatin. Plant Cell, 28(7), 1662-1681. doi:10.1105/tpc.16.00105

Lee, S., Fu, F., Xu, S., Lee, S. Y., Yun, D. J., & Mengiste, T. (2016). Global regulation of plant immunity by histone lysine methyl transferases. Plant Cell, 28(7), 1640-1661. doi:10.1105/tpc.16.00012

Yoo, J. Y., Ko, K. S., Seo, H. K., Park, S., Fanata, W. I., Harmoko, R., . . . Lee, K. O. (2015). Limited addition of the 6-Arm β-1,2-linked N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) residue facilitates the formation of the largest N-glycan in plants. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 290(27), 16560-16572. doi:10.1074/jbc.M115.653162

Park, H. C., Lee, S., Park, B., Choi, W., Kim, C., Lee, S., . . . Yun, D. J. (2014). Pathogen associated molecular pattern (PAMP)-triggered immunity is compromised under C-limited growth. Molecules and Cells, 38(1), 40-50. doi:10.14348/molcells.2015.2165

Smith, J. E., Mengesha, B., Tang, H., Mengiste, T., & Bluhm, B. H. (2014). Resistance to Botrytis cinerea in Solanum lycopersicoides involves widespread transcriptional reprogramming. BMC Genomics, 15(1). doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-334

Sardesai, N., Laluk, K., Mengiste, T., & Gelvin, S. B. (2014). The Arabidopsis myb transcription factor MTF1 is a unidirectional regulator of susceptibility to Agrobacterium. Plant Signaling and Behavior, 9(6). doi:10.4161/psb.28983

Lai, Z., Schluttenhofer, C. M., Bhide, K., Shreve, J. T., Thimmapuram, J., Lee, S. Y., . . . Mengiste, T. (2014). MED18 interaction with distinct transcription factors regulates multiple plant functions. Nature Communications, 5. doi:10.1038/ncomms4064

Zhu, Y., Schluttenhoffer, C. M., Wang, P., Fu, F., Thimmapuram, J., Zhu, J. K., . . . Mengiste, T. (2014). CYCLIN-DEPENDENT KINASE8 differentially regulates plant immunity to fungal pathogens through kinase-dependent and -independent functions in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell, 26(10), 4149-4170. doi:10.1105/tpc.114.128611

Lai, Z., & Mengiste, T. (2013). Genetic and cellular mechanisms regulating plant responses to necrotrophic pathogens. Current Opinion in Plant Pathology, 16(4), 505-512.

Botany and Plant Pathology, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4614

© Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Integrity Statement | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Agricultural Communication

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact us at so we can help.

Sign In