Cyril Zipfel Group

Our group studies the molecular basis of plant innate immunity. We aim at deciphering the signaling events linking perception of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) to the establishment of immunity.

We use the leucine-rich repeats receptor kinases EFR and FLS2, which perceive bacterial EF-Tu and flagellin, respectively, as model pattern recognition receptors (PRRs).

Our work also aims at understanding how plant receptor kinases work at the molecular level and how signaling specificity is achieved between different receptor kinase-mediated signaling pathways involved in immunity and growth.

We are also exploring how outcomes of our research can be used to engineer sustainable broad-spectrum disease resistance in crops.

The Zipfel group is based both at TSL and at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) (  In addition to our own research, we also collaborate with researchers across TSL and contribute to joint research programmes.

Latest Publications

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Bender KW, Couto D, Kadota Y, Macho AP, Sklenar J, Derbyshire P, Bjornson M, DeFalco TA, Petriello A, Font Farre M, Schwessinger B, Ntoukakis V, Stransfeld L, Jones AME, Menke FLH, Cyril Zipfel C (2021)

Activation loop phosphorylaton of a non-RD receptor kinase initiates plant innate immune signaling. PNAS September 21, 2021 118 (38) e2108242118;

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Piazza S, Campa M, Pompili V, Costa LD, Salvagnin U, Nekrasov V, Zipfel C, Malnoy M (2021)

The Arabidopsis pattern recognition receptor EFR enhances fire blight resistance in apple. Hortic Res. 2021 Sep 1;8(1):204. doi: 10.1038/s41438-021-00639-3.

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Hurst CH, Turnbull D, Gronnier J, Myles S, Pflughaupt RL, Kopischke M, Davies P, Jones S, Robatzek S, Zipfel C, Hemsley PA (2021)

S-acylation is a positive regulator of FLS2-mediated plant immunity. bioRxiv preprint Aug 31, 2021 doi:

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DeFalco TA, Zipfel C (2021)

Molecular mechanisms of early plant pattern-triggered immune signaling. Mol Cell. 2021 Aug 10:S1097-2765(21)00598-0. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2021.07.029.

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