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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Plant Science Research » Research » Research Project #438282

Research Project: Genetics of the Maize Defense Response

Location: Plant Science Research

Project Number: 6070-21220-017-003-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2020
End Date: Jun 30, 2025

Plants recognize pathogens either through detecting molecules that are generally associated with microbes- called Pathogen-associated molecular patterns or PAMPs- or by recognizing the action of specific molecules produce by specialized pathogens to facilitate pathogenesis- called effectors. These recognition events lead to multi-faceted defense responses. We are interested in dissecting the machinery controlling these responses. In particular we are interested in understanding how the plant suppresses the effector triggered response so that it does not cause undue harm to the plant. We have identified a process mediated by protein degradation that appears to be a general mechanism for degrading the proteins that recognize effectors and trigger the defense response. We are also interested in identifying the receptors that recognize PAMPs in maize.

Cooperators at NCSU will perform the following experiments: Characterization of an E3-ligase mediating degradation of activated R-genes using techniques such as viral-induced silencing in maize, transient gene expression in Nicotiana benthamianana, Bimolecular florescence assays, RNAseq analysis. Identification of the effector recognized by the maize resistance gene Rp1-D using RNAseq analysis, bioinformatic analysis, transient gene expression in Nicotiana benthamianana, viral-induced silencing in maize, isolation of fungal infection structures called haustoria. Analysis of plants edited with CRISPR/CAS9 technology to identify components of the PAMP-mediated defense response using techniques such as plate luminescence assays, inoculation assays in field and greenhouse, gene-expression assays.