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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research » Research » Research Project #433486

Research Project: Genomic and Functional Analysis of Emerging and Persistent Plant Pathogenic Bacteria to Support Disease Control

Location: Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research

Project Number: 8062-21000-048-001-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 31, 2017
End Date: Aug 30, 2022

Bacterial disease of potatoes and tomatoes cause economically significant crop loss and effective control measures are lacking. In recent decades, many specific determinants of pathogenesis have been identified including effectors, cell wall degrading enzymes, toxins, and proteins involved in nutrient acquisition. However, the global regulatory networks that coordinate deployment of the full range of genes involved in plant colonization and pathogenesis are not well understood. This agreement proposes to identify key bacterial regulatory networks and functions that are critical to plant disease progression. We will use this information to devise and test novel and conventional control strategies that interfere with the proper function of those systems and identify and characterize new sources of plant resistance. This work will also characterize genome structure and function of pathogens to support our development of diagnostic tools and the epidemiology of emerging and persistent bacterial plant diseases affecting US agriculture.

Research proposed in this agreement will focus on identifying and characterizing the metabolic and physiological adaptations that underpin bacterial survival in plants. We use a combination of molecular genetic, biochemical, proteomic, and genomic methods to identify the genes and systems controlling these functions and determine how the expression of these functions is controlled. Genetic and chemical approaches will then be used to identify molecules that inhibit the bacterial systems necessary for plant interactions. This agreement will also support studies that use a combination of genomic, molecular and applied plant pathology approaches to identify and characterize natural forms of plant resistance. Genomic and proteomic methods will be used to characterize the genomes and functions of important and emerging plant pathogenic bacteria. This work will involve isolating bacteria from infected plant material and characterizing the genomic structure of these pathogens responsible for current disease outbreaks.