Dr Peter van Esse

Group Leader
The 2Blades Group

In agricultural practice worldwide, plant diseases regularly cause severe crop losses that devastate food production for millions of people.

I am interested in delivering durable and sustainable solutions against agriculturally important plant pathogens such as the biotrophic fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi, the causal agent of Asian Soybean Rust. To this end, I want to better understand the molecular dialogue between host and pathogen. This requires a better understanding of the components produced by a pathogen to induce susceptibility such as effectors, but also of plant disease resistance mechanisms such as NB-LRR mediated resistance.

In addition, I want to understand how pathogen populations are behaving in an agricultural setting since this is required to develop strategies that ensure durable deployment of novel resistance in the field.


Markell SG, L Tylka G, J Anderson E, van Esse HP (2020)

Developing Public-Private Partnerships in Plant Pathology Extension: Case Studies and Opportunities in the United States. Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2020 Jun 16. doi: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-030320-041359.

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Sánchez-Vallet A, Tian H, Rodriguez-Moreno L, Valkenburg DJ, Saleem-Batcha R, Wawra S, Kombrink A, Verhage L, de Jonge R, van Esse HP, Zuccaro A, Croll D, Mesters JR, Thomma BPHJ (2019)

A secreted LysM effector protects fungal hyphae through chitin-dependent homodimer polymerization. bioRxiv preprint Sep 30, 2019 doi:

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van Esse HP, Reuber L, van der Does D (2019)

GM approaches to improve disease resistance in crops. New Phytol. 2019 May 28. doi: 10.1111/nph.15967.

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Courville KJ, Frantzeskakis L, Gul S, Haeger N, Kellner R, Heßler N, Day B, Usadel B, Gupta YK, van Esse HP, Brachmann A, Kemen E, Feldbrügge M, Göhre V (2019)

Smut infection of perennial hosts: the genome and the transcriptome of the Brassicaceae smut fungus Thecaphora thlaspeos reveal functionally conserved and novel effectors. New Phytol. 2019 Jan 21. doi: 10.1111/nph.15692.

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Moscou MJ, van Esse HP (2017)

The quest for durable resistance. Science: Vol. 358, Issue 6370, pp. 1541-1542 DOI: 10.1126/science.aar4797

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van Esse P (2017)

Guarding the granary. The Biochemist; Volume 39 No 3 June 2017

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van Esse GW, Ten Hove CA, Guzzonato F, van Esse HP, Boekschoten M, Ridder L, Vervoort J, de Vries SC (2016)

Transcriptional analysis of serk1 and serk3 receptor-like kinase mutants. Plant Physiol. 2016 Nov 1. pii: pp.01478.2016.

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Belhaj K, Cano LM, Prince DC, Kemen A, Yoshida K, Dagdas YF, Etherington GJ, Schoonbeek HJ, van Esse HP, Jones JD, Kamoun S, Schornack S (2016)

Arabidopsis late blight: Infection of a nonhost plant by Albugo laibachii enables full colonization by Phytophthora infestans. Cell Microbiol. 2016 Jun 15. doi: 10.1111/cmi.12628.

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Kawashima CG, Guimarães GA, Nogueira SR, MacLean D, Cook DR, Steuernagel B, Baek J, Bouyioukos C, Melo BD, Tristão G, de Oliveira JC, Rauscher G, Mittal S, Panichelli L, Bacot K, Johnson E, Iyer G, Tabor G, Wulff BB, Ward E, Rairdan GJ, Broglie KE, Wu G, van Esse HP, Jones JD, Brommonschenkel SH (2016)

A pigeonpea gene confers resistance to Asian soybean rust in soybean. Nature Biotechnology (2016) doi:10.1038/nbt.3554

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Belhaj K, Cano LM, Prince DC, Kemen A, Yoshida K, Dagdas YF, Etherington GJ, Schoonbeek H, van Esse HP, Jones JDG, Kamoun S, Schornack S (2015)

Arabidopsis late blight: Infection of a nonhost plant by Albugo laibachii enables full colonization by Phytophthora infestans. bioRxiv preprint December 23, 2015 doi:

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Patron NJ, Orzaez D, Marillonnet S, Warzecha H, Matthewman C, Youles M, Raitskin O, Leveau A, Farré G, Rogers C, Smith A, Hibberd J, Webb AAR, Locke J, Schornack S, Ajioka J, Baulcombe DC, Zipfel C, Kamoun S, Jones JDG, Kuhn H, Robatzek S, Van Esse HP, Sanders D, Oldroyd G, Martin C, Field R, O'Connor S, Fox S, Wulff B, Miller B, Breakspear A, Radhakrishnan G, Delaux PM, Loqué D, Granell A, Tissier A, Shih P, Brutnell TP, Quick WP, Rischer H, Fraser PD, Aharoni A, Raines C, South PF, Ané JM, Hamberger BR, Langdale J, Stougaard J, Bouwmeester H, Udvardi M, Murray JAH, Ntoukakis V, Schäfer P, Denby K, Edwards KJ, Osbourn A, Haseloff J (2015)

Standards for plant synthetic biology: a common syntax for exchange of DNA parts. New Phytologist 14 Jul 2015 doi: 10.1111/nph.13532

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Zhang Z, van Esse HP, van Damme M, Fradin EF, C Liu, Thomma BPHJ. (2013)

Ve1-mediated resistance against Verticillium does not involve a hypersensitive response in Arabidopsis. Molecular Plant Pathology 14: 719-727.

Etalo DW, Stulemeijer IJE, van Esse HP, de Vos RCH, Bouwmeester HJ, Joosten MHAJ. (2013)

System-Wide hypersensitive response-associated transcriptome and metabolome reprogramming in tomato. Plant Physiology 162: 1599-1617.

Santhanam P, van Esse HP, Albert I, Faino L, Nürnberger T, Thomma BPHJ. (2013)

Evidence for functional diversification within a fungal NEP1-like protein family. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 26: 278-286.

Zhang Z, Fradin EF, de Jonge R, van Esse HP, Smit P, Liu CM, Thomma, BPHJ. (2013)

Optimized agroinfiltration and virus-induced gene silencing to study Ve1-mediated Verticillium resistance in tobacco. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 26: 182-190.

van Esse HP. (2012)

Identification of HR-Inducing cDNAs from Plant Pathogens via a Gateway ®-Compatible Binary Potato Virus X-Expression Vector. In: Methods in Molecular Biology- 835 – Humana New York City, USA pp. 97-105

de Jonge R, van Esse HP, Maruthachalam K, Bolton MD, Santhanam P, Saber MK, Zhang Z, Usami T, Lievens B, Subbarao KV, Thomma BPHJ. (2012)

Tomato immune receptor Ve1 recognizes effector of multiple fungal pathogens uncovered by genome and RNA sequencing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109: 5110-5115.

Hanssen IM, van Esse HP, Ballester A, Hogewoning SW, Ortega-Parra N, Paeleman A, Lievens B, Bovy AG, Thomma BPHJ. (2011)

Differential tomato transcriptomic responses induced by Pepino mosaic virus isolates with differential aggressiveness. Plant Physiology 156: 301-318.

de Jonge R, van Esse HP, Kombrink A, Shinya T, Desaki Y, Bours RMEH, van der Krol AR, Shibuya N, Joosten MHAJ, Thomma BPHJ. (2010)

Conserved fungal LysM effector Ecp6 prevents chitin-triggered immunity in plants. Science 329: 953-955.

Lacombe S, Rougon-Cardoso A, Sherwood E, Peeters N, Dahlbeck D, van Esse HP, Smoker M, Rallapalli G, Thomma BPHJ, Staskawicz B, Jones JDG and Zipfel C (2010)

Inter-family transfer of a plant pattern recognition receptor confers broad-spectrum bacterial resistance. Nature Biotechnology, 4 :365-369.

Nekrasov V, Li J, Batoux M, Roux M, Lacombe S, Rougon A, Chu ZH, Bittel P, Kiss-Papp M, Chinchilla D, van Esse HP, Jorda L, Schwessinger B, Nicaise V, Thomma BPHJ, Molina A, Jones JDG and Zipfel C (2009)

Control of the pattern recognition receptor EFR by an ER protein complex in plant immunity. EMBO Journal 28: 3428-3438.

van Esse HP, Fradin EF, de Groot PJ, de Wit PJGM, Thomma BPHJ. (2009)

Tomato transcriptional responses to a foliar and a vascular fungal pathogen are distinct. Molecular Plant-Microbe interactions 22: 245-258.

van Esse HP*, van ’t Klooster JW*, Bolton MD, Yadeta KA, van Baarlen P, Boeren S, Vervoort JJM, de Wit PJGM, Thomma BPHJ. (2008)

The Cladosporium fulvum virulence protein Avr2 inhibits host proteases required for basal defense. The Plant Cell 20: 1948-1963.

Bolton MD, van Esse HP, Vossen JH, de Jonge R, Stergiopoulos I, Stulemeijer IJE, van den Berg GCM, Borrás-Hidalgo O, Dekker HL, de Koster CG, de Wit PJGM, Joosten MHAJ, Thomma BPHJ. (2008)

The novel Cladosporium fulvum lysin motif effector Ecp6 is a virulence factor with orthologues in other fungal species. Molecular Microbiology 69: 119-136.

van Baarlen P, van Esse HP, Siezen RJ, Thomma BPHJ. (2008)

Challenges in plant cellular pathway reconstruction based on gene expression profiling. Trends in Plant Science 13: 44-50.

van Esse HP, Bolton MD, Stergiopoulos I, de Wit PJGM, Thomma BPHJ. (2007).

The chitin-binding Cladosporium fulvum effector protein Avr4 is a virulence factor. Molecular Plant-Microbe interactions 20: 1092-1101.

van Esse HP, Thomma BPHJ, van ’t Klooster JW, de Wit PJGM. (2006)

Affinity-tags are removed from Cladosporium fulvum effector proteins expressed in the tomato leaf apoplast. Journal of Experimental Botany 57: 599-608.

Job History

2014 – present Group Leader, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK.

2013 – 2014 Team Leader, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK.

2007 – 2013 Postdoctoral Researcher, Wageningen University, Netherlands.

2003 – 2007 PhD Student, Wageningen University, Netherlands.