University of Dundee

"Plant disease susceptibility; on host genes and downy mildew effectors controlling infection"

Event Date: 
Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 11:00 to 12:00
Event Location: 
Old Seminar Room,James Hutton Institute Errol Road, Invergowrie, DD2 5DA
Professor Paul Birch FRSE
Event Speaker: 
Prof Guido van den Ackerveken
Utrecht University
Event Type: 
All Welcome
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Susceptibility to infectious diseases caused by pathogens affects most plants in their natural habitat and leads to yield losses in agriculture. But plants are not helpless because their immune system can deal with the vast majority of attackers. However, adapted pathogens have evolved effectors to circumvent or avert host immunity making plants susceptible to these uninvited guests. In addition to the failure of the plant immune system, there are other host processes that contribute to plant disease susceptibility. In my presentation I will discuss recent studies that show the active role played by the host in supporting disease, focusing mainly on biotrophic stages of infection. The role of two negative regulators of immunity, the Arabidopsis DMR6 and DLO1 proteins, will be discussed in more depth. Mutation of the corresponding genes render plants resistant to biotrophic pathogen thereby providing a method for obtaining disease resistant crops.

The second part of my presentation will focus on effectors of downy mildews that enable them to overcome host immune responses allowing pathogens to cause disease. Downy mildews constitute a large group of obligate biotrophic plant pathogens, many of which severely affect crop production. They are known to produce a suite of secreted and host-translocated proteins that target diverse host components. One group of apoplastic effectors is formed by the Necrosis- and ethylene-inducing-Like Proteins (NLPs) which we recently uncovered to act as MAMPs in Arabidopsis, and for which we cloned the receptors. Despite being recognized by the innate immune system, downy mildews have adapted to their host and have evolved effector proteins to suppress these immune responses. Most of our work is focused on the RXLR class of host-translocated effectors and their host target proteins. In my talk I will report on our progress on downy mildew effectors in the crops lettuce and spinach.