Abbas Maqbool

Postdoctoral Scientist
Sophien Kamoun Group

Filamentous plant pathogens use an arsenal of host-translocated effector proteins to cause diseases in economically important plants. I seek to understand how host-translocated effectors engage with host proteins at the molecular level. I am also interested in understanding how plants deploy intracellular immune receptors such as NLRs to detect pathogens and activate immunity.

I employ a range of structural, biophysical and molecular biology techniques to address important questions regarding the specificity of interaction of effector molecules with many of its biological targets.


Zess EK, Jensen C, Cruz-Mireles N, De la Concepcion JC, Sklenar J, Stephani M, Imre R, Roitinger E, Hughes R, Belhaj K, Mechtler K, Menke FLH, Bozkurt T, Banfield MJ, Kamoun S, Maqbool A, Dagdas YF (2019)

N-terminal β-strand underpins biochemical specialization of an ATG8 isoform. PLoS Biol. 2019 Jul 22;17(7):e3000373. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000373.

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Adachi H, Contreras M, Harant A, Wu CH, Derevnina L, Sakai T, Duggan C, Moratto E, Bozkurt T, Maqbool A, Win J, Kamoun S (2019)

An N-terminal motif in NLR immune receptors is functionally conserved across distantly related plant species. bioRxiv preprint Jul 04, 2019 doi:

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Adachi H, Kamoun S, Maqbool A (2019)

A resistosome-activated ‘death switch’. Nat Plants. 2019 Apr 29. doi: 10.1038/s41477-019-0425-9.

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Zess EK, Jensen C, Cruz-Mireles N, De la Concepcion JC, Sklenar J, Imre R, Roitinger E, Hughes R, Belhaj K, Mechtler K, Menke F, Bozkurt T, Banfield M, Kamoun S, Maqbool A, Dagdas Y (2018)

N-terminal β-strand underpins biochemical specialization of an ATG8 isoform. bioRxiv preprint Oct 25, 2018 doi:

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De la Concepcion JC, Franceschetti M, Maqbool A, Saitoh H, Terauchi R, Kamoun S, Banfield MJ (2018)

Polymorphic residues in rice NLRs expand binding and response to effectors of the blast pathogen. Nature Plants (2018)

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Bialas A, Zess EK, De la Concepcion JC, Franceschetti M, Pennington HG, Yoshida K, Upson JL, Chanclud E, Wu C-H, Langner T, Maqbool A, Varden FA, Derevnina L, Belhaj K, Fujisaki K, Saitoh H, Terauchi R, Banfield MJ, Kamoun S (2017)

Lessons in effector and NLR biology of plant-microbe systems. bioRxiv preprint Aug 2, 2017 doi:

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Franceschetti M, Maqbool A, Jiménez-Dalmaroni MJ, Pennington HG, Kamoun S, Banfield MJ (2017)

Effectors of Filamentous Plant Pathogens: Commonalities amid Diversity. Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev. June 2017 vol. 81 no. 2 e00066-16 doi: 10.1128/MMBR.00066-16

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Kellner R, De la Concepcion JC, Maqbool A, Kamoun S, Dagdas YF (2016)

ATG8 Expansion: A Driver of Selective Autophagy Diversification? Trends Plant Sci. Dec 27. pii: S1360-1385(16)30200-X. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2016.11.015.

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Maqbool A, Hughes RK, Dagdas YF, Tregidgo N, Zess E, Belhaj K, Round A, Bozkurt TO, Kamoun S, Banfield MJ (2016)

Structural basis of host Autophagy-related protein 8 (ATG8) binding by the Irish potato famine pathogen effector protein PexRD54. J Biol Chem. 2016 Jul 25. pii: jbc.M116.744995.

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Dagdas YF, Belhaj K, Maqbool A, Chaparro-Garcia A, Pandey P, Petre B, Tabassum N, Cruz-Mireles N, Hughes RK, Sklenar J, Win J, Menke F, Findlay K, Banfield MJ, Kamoun S, Bozkurt TO

An effector of the Irish potato famine pathogen antagonizes a host autophagy cargo receptor. Elife. 2016 Jan 14;5. pii: e10856. doi: 10.7554/eLife.10856

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Maqbool A, Horler RSP, Muller A, Wilkinson AJ, Wilson KS, Thomas GH (2015)

ATP-binding cassette transporters: from mechanism to organism The substrate-binding protein in bacterial ABC transporters: dissecting roles in the evolution of substrate specificity. Biochemical Society Transactions 10/2015; 43(5)., DOI:10.1042/BST20150135

Maqbool A, Saitoh H, Franceschetti M, Stevenson C, Uemura A, Kanzaki H, Kamoun S, Terauchi R, Banfield MJ (2015)

Structural basis of pathogen recognition by an integrated HMA domain in a plant NLR immune receptor. Elife. 2015 Aug 25;4. doi: 10.7554/eLife.08709.

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Wirthmueller L, Maqbool A, Banfield MJ. (2013)

On the front line: structural insights into plant-pathogen interactions. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2013 Nov;11(11):761-76.

Basavanna S, Chimalapati S, Maqbool A, Rubbo B, Yuste J, Wilson RJ, Hosie A, Ogunniyi AD, Paton JC, Thomas G, Brown JS (2013)

The effects of methionine acquisition and synthesis on Streptococcus pneumoniae growth and virulence. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e49638. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049638.

Maqbool A, Hervé M, Mengin-Lecreulx D, Wilkinson AJ, Thomas GH (2012)

MpaA is a murein-tripeptide-specific zinc carboxypeptidase that functions as part of a catabolic pathway for peptidoglycan-derived peptides in γ-proteobacteria. Biochem J. 2012 Dec 15;448(3):329-41. doi: 10.1042/BJ20121164.

Maqbool A, Levdikov VM, Blagova EV, Hervé M, Horler RS, Wilkinson AJ, Thomas GH (2011)

Compensating stereochemical changes allow murein tripeptide to be accommodated in a conventional peptide-binding protein. J Biol Chem. 2011 Sep 9;286(36):31512-21. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.267179.

Job History

2013 – 2017 Post doc, John Innes Centre, UK

2008 – 2012 PhD, University of York, UK

2006 – 2008 Master of Philosophy (biotechnology), Quaid-i-azam University, Pakistan