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Professor Mahmut Tör

Chair of Molecular Plant and Microbial Biology

Contact Details
National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit
University of Worcester
Henwick Grove
Worcester WR2 6AJ, UK
Telephone: 01905 542360

Education and qualifications

  • 1991: Ph.D. Plant Biotechnology, University of London, UK
  • 1987: M.Sc, Applied Plant Sciences, University of London, UK
  • 1984: BSc Plant Protection, Çukurova University, Turkey

Previous Positions Held

  • Senior Lecturer, University of Worcester, UK
  • Research Leader, Warwick HRI, University of Warwick, UK
  • Research Fellow, Horticultural Research International, Warwick UK
  • Assistant Prof, University of Akdeniz, Turkey
  • Research Fellow, University of London, UK

Research Profile

A highly evolved surveillance system in plants is able to detect a broad range of signals originating from pathogens, damaged tissues, or altered developmental processes, initiating sophisticated molecular mechanisms that result in defense, wound healing, and development.  Microbe associated molecular pattern molecules (MAMPs), damage associated molecular pattern molecules (DAMPs), virulence factors, secreted proteins and processed peptides can be recognized directly or indirectly by this surveillance system. Nucleotide binding-leucine rich repeat proteins (NB-LRR) are intracellular receptors and have been targeted by breeders for decades to elicit resistance to crop pathogens in the field.  Receptor-like kinases (RLKs) and receptor like proteins (RLPs) are membrane bound signalling molecules with an extracellular receptor domain.  They provide an early warning system for the presence of potential pathogens and activate the protective immune pathways in plants.

Our research interest lies within the molecular host-microbe interactions.  We have been investigating the role of cytoplasmic and membrane bound Arabidopsis receptors in the recognition of downy mildew pathogen. We have identified a few RLK-type receptors that may play a significant role in the detection of this pathogen.  We are investigating these further by genetic, molecular and biochemical approaches.  We have established an assay to study MAMPs and apoplastic effectors of oomycete pathogens, which may aid the identification of the ligands for the orphan receptors.

Current Research

  • Regulation of effectors by circadian rhythm
  • Identification of PAMPs and apoplastic effectors from downy mildew pathogen
  • Role of heterozygosity in effector-triggered immunity


2010-Present:  Module Leader, BIOS2024 Infectious Agents and Allergens for second year students
2010-Present:  Module Leader, HORT 3010 Plant Breeding and Gene Technology, third year students

Selected Publications

  • Kamoun S, Furzer O, Jones JD, Judelson HS, Ali GS, Dalio RJ, Roy SG, Schena L, Zambounis A, Panabières F, Cahill D, Ruocco M, Figueiredo A, Chen XR, Hulvey J, Stam R, Lamour K, Gijzen M, Tyler BM, Grünwald NJ, Mukhtar MS, Tomé DF, Tör M, Van den Ackerveken G, McDowell J, Daayf F, Fry WE, Lindqvist-Kreuze H, Meijer HJ, Petre B, Ristaino J, Yoshida K, Birch PR, Govers F. (2014) The Top 10 oomycete pathogens in molecular plant pathology.  Mol Plant Pathol. doi: 10.1111/mpp.12190.
  • Johansson, O. N., Fantozzi, E., Fahlberg, P., Nilsson, A. K., Buhot, N., Tör, M. and Andersson, M. X. (2014) Role of the penetration resistance genes PEN1, PEN2 and PEN3 in the hypersensitive response and race specific resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana.  Plant Journal 79: 466–476. doi: 10.1111/tpj.12571.
  • Baysal, Ö and Tör, M. (2014) Smart biologics for crop protection in agricultural systems. Turk J Agric For. 38: 723-731.  DOI: 10.3906/tar-1309-26.
  • Zhang. W., Fraiture, M., Kolb, D., Löffelhardt, B., Desaki, Y., Boutrot, F. F., Tör, M., Zipfel,, C, Gust, A. A. and Brunner, F. (2013) Arabidopsis RECEPTOR-LIKE PROTEIN30 and Receptor-Like Kinase SUPPRESSOR OF BIR1-1/EVERSHED Mediate Innate Immunity to Necrotrophic Fungi. Plant Cell 25: 4227-41.
  • Baysal, O., Lai, D., Xu, H-H., Siragusa, M., Çaliskan, M., Carimi, F., da Silva J. A. T. and Tör, M. (2013) A proteomic approach provides new insights into the control of soil-borne plant pathogens by Bacillus species. PLoS ONE 8: e53182. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053182.
  • Rouxa, M., Schwessinger, B., Albrecht, C., Chinchilla, D., Jones, A., Holton, N., Malinovsky, F. G., Tör, M., de Vries., S. and Zipfel, C.  (2011) The Arabidopsis leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinases BAK1/SERK3 and BKK1/SERK4 cooperate to regulate innate immunity. Plant Cell 23: 2440-55
  • Bailey, K., Çevik, V., Holton, N., Byrne-Richardson, J., Sohn, K., Coates. M., Woods-Tör, A., Hughes, L., Baxter, L., Jones, J. D. G., Beynon, J., Holub, E. B and Tör, M. (2011) Molecular Cloning of ATR5Emoy2 From Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis, an Avirulence Determinant That Triggers RPP5-mediated Defense in Arabidopsis. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. 24: 827–838.
  • Barnaby, J. Y., Wang, W., Tada, Y., Li, H., Tör, M., Caldelari-Guex, D., Lee, D., Fu, X-D.,  and Dong, X. (2011) Timing Plant Immune Responses by a Central Circadian Regulator.  Nature 470: 110-114
  • Devran, Z., Firat, A., Tör, M., Mutlu, N., Elekçioglu, I. H. (2011) AFLP and SRAP markers linked to the mj gene for root-knot nematode resistance in cucumber.  Sci. Agric. .68: 115-119
  • Çakir, C and Tör, M. (2010) Factors influencing BSMV-mediated gene silencing in wheat.  Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology 74:246-253.
  • Tör, M., Lotze, M. T. and Holton, N. (2009) Receptor mediated signalling in plants: molecular patterns and programmes. Journal of Experimental Botany 60: 3645 - 3654
  • Bastas, K. K., Hekimhan, H., Maden, S. and  Tör, M. (2009) First Report of Bacterial Stalk and Head Rot Disease Caused by Pectobacterium atrosepticum on Sunflower in Turkey.  Plant Disease 93: 1352.
  • Devran, Z., Sögüt, M. A., Gözel, U., Tör, M., and Elekçioglu, I. H. (2008) Analysis of genetic variation between populations of Meloidogyne spp.  Russian Journal of Nematology 16: 143-149.
  • Wang, G., Ellendorff, U., Kemp, B., Mansfield, J. W., Forsyth, A., Mitchell, K., Bastas, K., Liu, C., Zipfel, C., Woods-Tör, A., M. de Wit, P. J. G., Jones, J. D. G., Tör, M., and Thomma, B. P. H. J. (2008) A genome-wide functional investigation into the roles of receptor-like proteins in Arabidopsis.  Plant Physiology 147:503-17.
  • Borhan, M. H., Gunn, N., Cooper, A., Gulden, S., Rozwadowski, K., Tör, M., Rimmer, S. R. and Holub, E. B. (2008) WRR, a TIR-NB-LRR gene in Arabidopsis thaliana, confers resistance to four races of Albugo candida (white rust) collected from other crucifer hosts.  Molecular Plant microbe Interactions 21:757–768.

Further publications can be found here.