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The objective of our project is to investigate computational methods for modeling gene regulation circuitry based on solid experimental evidence from the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000. No bacterial plant pathogen has been the focus of a combined computational and biological research effort to elucidate how different aspects of physiology and pathogenesis are integrated at the level of gene regulation. The project has two primary goals to address this problem. First, laboratory methods including high-throughput protein and mRNA profiling and genetics will be used to identify the function of specific regulatory components in vivo. Second, regulatory networks will be modeled using computational approaches developed by computer scientists, engineers and mathematicians for the analysis of highly complex systems. The mechanisms used by P. syringae to infect plants are shared by many other pathogens that attack both plants and animals.
Results from this research will therefore be useful to a broad spectrum of scientists who are studying pathogenesis or who are concerned with the safety of the Nation's food supply and agricultural systems.
This project embodies the spirit and substance of the recommendations in the recent memo from J. Marburger and J. Bolten defining FY 2007 Administration Research and Development Budget Priorities:
"Agencies should target investments toward the development of a deeper understanding of complex biological systems through collaborations among physical, computational, behavioral, social and biological researchers and engineers. Scientific and technological breakthroughs in revealing biochemical processes are expected in diverse areas at scales ranging from the sub-molecular to the systems level" [M-05-18, Office of Management and Budget and Office of Science and Technology Policy, July 8, 2005].
Within the ARS mission, this research falls under two National Programs within Crop Production, Product Value and Safety. The primary focus of this research falls within NP303 (Plant Diseases) and is specifically relevant to Component IV (Pathogen Biology, Genetics, Population Dynamics, Spread, and Relationship with Hosts and Vectors). As part of NP302 (Plant Biological and Molecular Processes), the project is part of Component III (Mechanisms of Plant Interactions with Other Organisms).
Pseudomonas syringae Genome Resources:
Faculty web page (Department of Plant Pathology):