Associate Professor – Environmental Sciences
Contact : hiruma[at]g.ecc.u-tokyo.ac.jp
Dr. Kei Hiruma started his research career by studying molecular plant interactions with pathogenic Colletotrichum fungi under the supervision of Prof. Yoshitaka Takano. He obtained Ph.D. at the Division of Applied Bioscience, the Faculty of agriculture, Kyoto University. After Ph.D., he started a new research studying potential ecological roles of endophytic fungi inhabiting in healthy wild plants at Max Planck Institute For Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, together with Prof Paul Schulze-Lefert and Dr. Richard O'Connell. He found that the root endophytic fungus Colletotrichum tofieldiae promotes plant growth of Brassicaceae plants under low phosphate available conditions via transferring phosphorus to host plants. He moved to Nara Institute of Science and Technology as an assistant professor in Plant immunity lab and has developed studies to understand how plants eliminate potential pathogens while accepting beneficial microbes. He set up his own lab at the Department of Life Sciences since November 2020. Plants accommodate various microbial communities for their growth. He would like to know the commonalities and differences of pathogenic and beneficial fungal lifestyles. He is now interested to understand how plants and beneficial fungi manage to shape multi kingdom microbial communities and to establish a symbiotic relationship that contribute to plant growth and health under changing environments.
Parasitic–mutualistic continuum, Endophytes, Pathogens, Arabidopsis thaliana, Colletotrichum, Plant growth promotion, Microbiome, Holobiont, Plant nutrition, Microbial evolution
Hiruma, K*., Aoki, S., Takino, J., Higa, T., Utami, YD., Shiina, A., Okamoto, M., Nakamura, M., Kawamura, N., Ohmori, Y., Sugita, R., Tanoi, K., Sato, T., Oikawa, H., Minami, A., Iwasaki, W., Saijo, Y. (2023) A fungal sesquiterpene biosynthesis gene cluster critical for mutualist-pathogen transition in Colletotrichum tofieldiae. Nature Commun. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-40867-w.
Hiruma, K., Gerlach, N., Sacristán, S., Nakano, R. T., Hacquard, S., Kracher, B., Neumann, U., Ramirez, D., Bucher, M., O’Connell, R. J*. and Schulze-Lefert, P*. (2016) Root endophyte Colletotrichum tofieldiae confers plant fitness benefits that are phosphate status dependent. Cell.165, 464–474.