Dr Mark Banfield

Project Leader
Biological Chemistry

The Banfield Lab addresses fundamental questions in pathogen-host interactions at the molecular level. A long-standing interest of the group is the study of structure/function relationships in effector proteins from pathogens of mammals and plants. Effector proteins are molecules secreted from pathogens that either localize outside of or are translocated into host cells where they act to promote pathogen colonization. 

We also study the host side of plant immunity, or how plants respond to pathogens. Through the use of biochemical, biophysical and structural studies, we form hypotheses that are then tested in more in vivo settings. Ultimately, in addition to making fundamental discoveries concerning mechanisms of pathogen virulence, many of our studies are aimed at engineering plants to better resist infection by pathogens, improving performance in agriculture with a reduced need for chemical interventions.

We benefit from close links with colleagues at The Sainsbury Laboratory on the Norwich Research Park.

We also investigate the molecular basis of host cell adhesion mediated by internal thioester bonds, highly unusual protein cross-links we discovered in pili from gram-positive pathogens of mammals. 


Tel: 01603 450742

Dr Mark Banfield awarded tenure

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Recent Publications

Wu C. H., Krasileva K. V., Banfield M. J., Terauchi R., Kamoun S. (2015)

The "sensor domains" of plant NLR proteins: more than decoys?

Frontiers in Plant Science 6

Publisher’s version: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00134

Wirthmueller L., Roth C., Fabro G., Caillaud M. C., Rallapalli G., Asai S., Sklenar J., Jones A. M., Wiermer M., Jones J. D., Banfield M. J. (2014)

Probing formation of cargo/importin-a transport complexes in plant cells using a pathogen effector.

Plant Journal

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/tpj.12691

Banfield M. J. (2014)

Perturbation of host ubiquitin systems by plant pathogen/pest effector proteins.

Cellular Microbiology 17 (1) p18-25

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/cmi.12385

Walden M., Crow A., Nelson M., Banfield M. J. (2014)

Intramolecular isopeptide but not internal thioester bonds confer proteolytic and significant thermal stability to the S. pyogenes pilus adhesin Spy0125.

Proteins: Structure, Function and Bioinformatics 82 (3) p517-27

Publisher’s version: 10.1002/prot.24420

King S. R., McLellan H., Boevink P. C., Armstrong M. R., Bukharova T., Sukarta O., Win J., Kamoun S., Birch P. R., Banfield M. J. (2014)

Phytophthora infestans RXLR Effector PexRD2 Interacts with Host MAPKKK{varepsilon} to Suppress Plant Immune Signaling.

Plant Cell 26 p1345-59

Publisher’s version: 10.1105/tpc.113.120055

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Mark Banfield

  • Freya Varden Postgraduate Student
  • Lennart Wirthmueller Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Miriam Walden Postdoctoral Scientist
  • John Steele Postgraduate Student
  • Dr Abbas Maqbool Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Richard Hughes Research Assistant
  • Benjamin Hall Postgraduate Student
  • Dr Marina Franceschetti Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Sebastian Eves-van Den Akker Visiting Worker


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