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Dr Aleksandr Gavrin

Dr Aleksandr Gavrin

Research Associate

Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge
47 Bateman Street

Cambridge CB2 1LR
Office Phone: +44(0)1223 761100

Research Interests

My primary research goals are directed towards understanding the molecular genetic mechanisms of plant-microbe interactions. Plants are constantly exposed to an extremely diverse microbial environment. This diversity ranges from aggressive and devastating pathogens to harmless commensals and beneficial symbionts which provide plants with mineral nutrients. As a postgraduate student and during my first postdoc I studied molecular mechanisms of intracellular accommodation of nitrogen fixing bacteria during the development of the Rhizobium-legume symbiosis. My study uncovered new mechanisms involved in the adaptation of host cells to intracellular rhizobia: defunctionalization of the vacuole, actin cytoskeleton rearrangements and the retargeting of host cell vesicle trafficking and membrane protein delivery.

I have joined the Schornack Group in 2015. This group has strong experience and innovative methodology in the investigation of interactions between plants and oomycetes. The pioneering work of the group characterizes the overlap between symbiotic interactions and root infection by the biotrophic pathogen Phytophthora palmivora. This approach allows me to expand my understanding of plant-microbe interactions and to combine it with my previous experience to design new approaches for studying plant interactions with microbes.


       1. YFP-labelled actin in cells of the Medicago truncatula root nodule colonised by RFP expressing Sinorhizobium meliloti

  1.  YFP-labelled actin in cells of the Medicago truncatula root nodule colonised by RFP expressing Sinorhizobium meliloti


    2.Actin staining of Medicago truncatula root cells colonised by red fluorescent Phytophthora in depth coding mode
  2. Actin staining of Medicago truncatula root cells colonised by red fluorescent Phytophthora in depth coding mode

Key Publications

Gavrin A, Chiasson D, Ovchinnikova E, Kaiser BN, Bisseling T, Fedorova EE. VAMP721a and VAMP721d are important for pectin dynamics and release of bacteria in soybean nodules. New Phytologist. 2016; 210(3):1011-21.

Gavrin A, Fedoorova E. E. Quantification of the Volume and Surface Area of Symbiosomes and Vacuoles of Infected Cells in Root Nodules of Medicago truncatula. Bio-protocol. 2015; 5(23):e1665.

Gavrin A, Jansen V, Ivanov S, Bisseling T, Fedorova E. ARP2/3-Mediated Actin Nucleation Associated With Symbiosome Membrane Is Essential for the Development of Symbiosomes in Infected Cells of Medicago truncatula Root Nodules. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. 2015; 28(5):605-14.

Clarke VC, Loughlin PC, Gavrin A, Chen C, Brear EM, Day DA, et al. Proteomic Analysis of the Soybean Symbiosome Identifies New Symbiotic Proteins. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics : MCP. 2015; 14(5):1301-22.

Gavrin A, Kaiser BN, Geiger D, Tyerman SD, Wen Z, Bisseling T, et al. Adjustment of Host Cells for Accommodation of Symbiotic Bacteria: Vacuole Defunctionalization, HOPS Suppression, and TIP1g Retargeting in Medicago. The Plant Cell Online. 2014.