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Philip Poole

Posted by | March 13, 2021


Philip Poole

Job Title:

Professor of Plant Microbiology



Phone Number:

+44 (0) 1865 275000


Following undergraduate and PhD studies at Murdoch University, Western Australia, Phil was a post-doc with Prof. Judy Armitage FRS in the Department of Biochemistry, Oxford. He moved to the University of Reading in 1990 as a lecturer in the Department of Microbiology, and was promoted to Reader in 1999 and Professor in 2003. He was appointed as a Project Leader in the Department of Molecular Microbiology, John Innes Centre, Norwich in 2007. He moved to the Department of Plant Sciences, Oxford in 2013.

Research Areas:

  • Symbiotic nitrogen fixation

Current N-related Projects:


Wheatley, R.M., Ramachandran, V.K., Geddes, B.A., Perry, B.J., Yost, C.K. & Poole, P.S. (2017) Role of O2 in the Growth of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv, viciae3841 on Glucose and Succinate. J. Bacteriol. 199 (1) doi:10.1128/JB.00572-16.

Terpolilli, J.J, Masakapalli, S.K., Karunakaran, R., Webb, I.U., Green, R., Watmough, N.J., Kruger, N.J., Ratcliffe, R.G. & Poole, P.S. (2016) Lipogenesis and Redox Balance in Nitrogen-Fixing Pea Bacteroids. J. Bacteriol. 198(20):2864-75. doi: 10.1128/JB.00451-16.

Mus, F., Crook, M., Garcia, K., Garcia-Costas, A., Geddes, B., Diamanto Kouri, E., Paramasivan, P., Ryu, M-H., Oldroyd, G., Poole, P., Udvardi, M., Voigt, C., Ané, J-M. & Peters, J. (2106) Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation and Challenges to Extending it to Non-Legumes. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. doi:10.1128/AEM.01055-16.

Cheng, G., Karunakaran, R., East, A.K. & Poole, P.S. (2016) Multiplicity of Sulfate and Molybdate Transporters and Their Role in Nitrogen Fixation in Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae Rlv3841. Mol. Plant Microbe Interact. 29:143-52.

Prell, J., Poole, P., Untiet, V. & Karunakaran, R. (2015) The PTS-Ntr System Globally Regulates ATP-Dependent Transporters in Rhizobium leguminosarum. In Biologiacal Nitrogen Fixation Vol 1, Ed. F. J. de Bruijn, John Wiley & Sons Inc.pp 349-55.

Hood, G., Karunakaran, R., Downie, J.A. & Poole, P. (2015)  MgtE From Rhizobium leguminosarum Is a Mg2+ Channel Essential for Growth at Low pH and N2 Fixation on Specific Plants. Mol. Plant Microbe Interact. 28:1281-1287.

Tkacz, A. & Poole, P. (2015) Role of root microbiota in plant productivity. J. Exp. Bot. 66 (8): 2167-2175. This article appears in: Special Issue: Roots to Global Food Security

Tkacz, A., Cheema, J., Chandra, G., Grant, A. & Poole, P. S. (2015) Stability and succession of the rhizosphere microbiota depends upon plant type and soil composition. The ISME Journal doi:10.1038/ismej.2015.41

Geddes, B.A., Ryu, M-H., Mus, F., Garcia Costas, A., Peters, J.W., Voigt, C.A. &  Poole, P. (2015) Use of plant colonizing bacteria as chassis for transfer of N2-fixation to cereals. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 32: 216-222.

Garcia-Fraile, P., Seaman, J.C., Karunakaran, R., Edwards, A., Poole, P.S. & Downie, J.A. (2015) Arabinose and protocatechuate catabolism genes are important for growth of Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae in the pea rhizosphere. Plant and Soil 390: 251-264.

Frederix, M., Edwards, A., Swiderska, A., Stanger, A., Karunakaran, R., Williams, A., Abbruscato, P., Sanchez-Contreras, M., Poole, P.S. & Downie, J.A. (2014) Mutation of praR in Rhizobium leguminosarum enhances root biofilms, improving nodulation competitiveness by increased expression of attachment proteins. Molecular Microbiology 93: 464-78.

Tett, A.J., Karunakaran, R. & Poole, P.S. (2014) Characterisation of SalRAB a salicylic acid inducible positively regulated efflux system of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv viciae 3841. PLoS One 9(8):e103647.

Terpolilli, J., Rui, T., Yates, R., Howieson, J., Poole, P., Munk, C., Tapia, R., Han, C., Markowitz, V., Tatiparthi, R., Mavrommatis, K., Ivanova, N., Pati, A., Goodwin, L., Woyke, T., Kyrpides, N. & Reeve, W. (2013) Genome sequence of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv trifolii strain WSM1689, the microsymbiont of the one flowered clover Trifolium uniflorum. Standards in Genomic Science 31;9(3): 527-39.

Turner, T.R., Karunakaran, R., Walshaw, J., Heavens, D., Alston, M., Swarbreck,D., Osbourn, A., Grant, A. & Poole, P.S. (2013) Comparative metatranscriptomics reveals kingdom level changes in the rhizosphere microbiome of plants. The ISME Journal 7: 2248-2258.

Karunakaran, R., East, A.K. & Poole, P.S. (2013) Malonate catabolism does not drive nitrogen fixation in legume nodules. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 79 (14): 4496-4498.

Untiet, V., Karunakaran, R., Maria Krämer, M., Poole, P., Priefer, U. & Prell, J. (2013) ABC transport is inactivated by the PTSNtr under potassium limitation in Rhizobium leguminosarum 3841. PLoS One 8(5):e64682.

Turner, T.R, James, E.K. & Poole, P.S. (2013) The plant microbiome. Genome Biology 14: 209-218.

Udvardi, M. & Poole, P.S. (2013). Transport and Metabolism in Legume Root Nodules. Annual Review of Plant Biology 64: 781-805.

Zhang, Y., Aono, T., Poole, P. & Finan, T.M. (2012) NAD(P)+-malic enzyme mutants of Sinorhizobium sp. strain NGR234, but not Azorhizobium caulinodans ORS571, maintain symbiotic N2 fixation capabilities. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78: 2803-2812.

Tett, A.J., Rudder, S.J., Bourdes, A., Karunakaran, R. & Poole, P.S. (2012) Regulatable vectors for environmental gene expression in Alphaproteobacteria. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78: 7137-7140.

Bourdès, A., Rudder, S., East, A.K. & Poole, P.S. (2012) Mining the Sinorhizobium meliloti transportome to identify FRET biosensors for sugars, dicarboxylates and aromatic compounds. PLoS One 7 (9) e43578.

Tett, A., Turner, T. & Poole, P.S. (2012). Genomics and the Rhizosphere. Encyclopaedia of Life Sciences inivited review DOI:10.1002/9780470015902.a0023728

Terpolilli, J., Hood, G. & Poole, P.S. (2012). What determines the efficiency of N2-fixing Rhizobium-legume symbioses? Advances in Microbial Physiology 60: 326-389.

Prell, J., Mulley, G., Haufe, F., White, J.P., Williams, A., Karunakaran, R., Downie, J.A. & Poole P.S. (2012) The PTSNtr system globally regulates ATP-dependent transporters in Rhizobium leguminosarum. Molecular Microbiology 84:117-129.

Ramachandran, V., East, A.K., Karunakaran, R., Downie, J.A. & Poole, P.S. (2011) Adaptation of Rhizobium leguminosarum to pea, alfalfa and sugar beet rhizospheres investigated by comparative transcriptomics. Genome Biology 12:R106.

Oldroyd, G.E.D., Murray, J.D., Poole, P.S. & Downie, J.A. (2011). The rules of engagement in the legume-rhizobial symbiosis. Annual Review of Genetics 45: 119-144.

Mulley, G., White, J.P., Karunakaran, R., Prell, J., Bourdès, A., Bunnewell, S., Hill, L., Chandra, G. & Poole, P. S. (2011) Mutation of GOGAT prevents pea bacteroid formation and N2 fixation by globally down-regulating transport of organic nitrogen sources. Molecular Microbiology 80: 149-167.

Prell, J., Bourdès, A., Kumar, S., Lodwig, E., Hosie, A., Kinghorn, S., White, J. & Poole, P.S. (2010) Role of symbiotic auxotrophy in the Rhizobium-legume symbioses. PLoS One 5(11):e13933.

Karunakaran, R., Haag, A.F., East, A.K., Ramachandran, V.K., Prell, J., James, E.K., Scocchi, M., Ferguson, G.P. & Poole, P.S. (2010) BacA is essential for bacteroid development in nodules of galegoid, but not phaseoloid, legumes. Journal of Bacteriology 192: 2920-2928.

Prell, J., White, J.P., Bourdès, A., Bunnewell, S., Bongaerts, R.J. & P. S. Poole (2009) Legumes regulate Rhizobium bacteroid development and persistence by the supply of branched-chain amino acids. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106, 12477-12482.

Karunakaran, R., Ramachandran, V.K., Seaman, J.C., East, A.K., Moushine, B., Mauchline, T.H., Prell, J., Skeffington, A. & Poole, P.S. (2009) Transcriptomic analysis of Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae in symbiosis with host plants Pisum sativum and Vicia cracca. Journal of Bacteriology 191, 4002-4014.

Mulley, G. Lopez-Gomez, M., Zhang, Y., Terpolilli, J., Prell, J., Finan, T. & Poole, P.S (2010) Pyruvate is synthesized by two pathways in pea bacteroids with different efficiencies for nitrogen fixation. Journal of Bacteriology 192: 4944-4953.

Prell, J.P., Bourdès, A., Karunakaran, R., Lopez-Gomes, M. & Poole, P. (2009) Pathway of GABA metabolism in Rhizobium leguminosarum 3841 and its role in symbiosis. Journal of Bacteriology 191, 2177-2186.

East, A.K., Mauchline, T.H. & Poole, P.S. (2008) Biosensors for ligand detection. Advances in Applied Microbiology 64,137-166.

White, J.P., Prell, J., Ramachandran, V.K. & Poole P.S. (2009) Characterization of a GABA transport system of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv viciae 3841. Journal of Bacteriology 191, 1547-1555.

Fox, M.A., Karunkaran, R., Leonard, M.E., Moushine, B., Williams, A., East, A.K., Downie, J.A. & Poole, P.S. (2008) Characterisation of the quaternary amine transporters of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae 3841. FEMS Microbiology Letters 287, 212-220.

Barr, M, East A.K., Leonard, M., Mauchline, T. & Poole, P.S. (2008) In vivo expression technology (IVET) selection of genes of Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae A34 expressed in the rhizosphere. FEMS Microbiology Letters 282, 219-227.

White, J., Prell, J., James, E.K. and Poole, P. (2007) Nutrient sharing between symbionts. Plant Physiology 144, 604-614.

Mauchline, T.H., Fowler, J.E., East, A.K., Sartor, A.L., Zaheer, R., Hosie, A.H.F., Poole, P.S. & Finan, T. M. (2006) Mapping the Sinorhizobium meliloti 1021 solute binding protein-dependent transportome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 103, 17933-17938.

Karunakaran, R., Ebert, K., Harvey, S., Leonard, M.E., Ramachandran, V. & Poole, P.S. (2006) Thiamine is synthesized by a salvage pathway in Rhizobium leguminosarum bv viciae strain 3841. Journal of Bacteriology 188, 6661-6668.

Young, J.P.W et al. (2006) The genome of Rhizobium leguminosarum has recognisable core and accessory components. Genome Biology 7, R34.

Prell, J. & Poole, P.S. (2006) Metabolic changes in rhizobia. Trends in Microbiology 141: 161-168.

Fox, M.A., White, J.P., Hosie, A.H F., Lodwig, E.M. & Poole, P.S. (2006). Osmotic upshift transiently inhibits uptake via ABC transporters in Gram-negative bacteria. Journal of Bacteriology 188, 5304-5307.