The proposed Postgraduate Course “Applied and fundamental aspects of responses, signaling and developmental process in the root-microbe systems” is the third in the series of AB-RMS (Agro-Biotechnology focused on Root-Microbe Symbiosis) courses. The course series started in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 2005 with a broad review on root-microbe systems and continued in Hamburg, Germany, in 2006 with focused insights on root-pathogen interactions. At the third meeting we shall concentrate on beneficial plant-microbe interactions which have a huge potential to be used in sustainable agriculture of Northern Europe and Baltic Region. Due to nutritional symbioses (made with nitrogen fixing bacteria or mycorrhizal fungi) or the defensive symbioses (made with various endophytic and some epiphytic microbes) plants can adapt effectively to different abiotic and biotic stresses. Signaling for induced resistance is therefore also under the scope of the workshop and course. A sufficient reduction in application of mineral fertilizers and pesticides may be achieved through active use of microbial inoculants.

From the genetic viewpoint, both types of symbiosis are based on deep functional integration of partners’ genes which is controlled by their signaling interactions and results in the development of novel adaptive valuable metabolic functions and of cellular/tissue structures. These molecular processes will be in the focus of the Postgraduate Course. At present it becomes more and more evident that beneficial interactions with different microbes comprise one of the basic properties of the plant organisms which was acquired very early in the plant evolution. This is why we decided to accompany the Postgraduate Course with the workshop Evolution of Plant-Microbe Interactions the regularities of which may be interesting to work up the programs for improving the agriculturally important symbiotic systems.

We hope that such organization of the program of Postgraduate Course will enable us to go more deeply into the molecular and genetic background of plant-microbe interactions and to make more insights into genetic construction and to bioengineering of sustainable agricultural technologies.