Summary: My lab studies why and how some plants get sick and others don’t at molecular level. So we are interested in the molecular basis of plant-pathogen interactions, focusing on the defense signal recognition and transduction in plants. Unlike animals, which have the circulating immune system that produces specialized mobile cells, plants have evolved two branches of the immune system to defend themselves against pathogens. The first, usually occurring at the cell surface, is mediated by perception of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) by plasma membrane-associated pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) in plants. The PAMP-trigged immunity (PTI) is a basal level defense and is relatively weak but effective to limit pathogen invasion. The second, largely taking place inside the cell, is determined by recognition of effector proteins from pathogens by plant resistance (R) proteins. The R-mediated resistance is a strong defense response, usually coupled with a localized cell death, termed hypersensitive response (HR).

Minimum Classes: Basic Biology Class

Projects: Characterization of a NAC transcription factor. Recently we have found a NAC1 transcription factor is associated with disease resistance protein and involved in bacterial disease resistance in tomato. Significantly, the NAC1 is undergoing ubiquitin-mediated degradation in the normal condition. The aim of this project is to identify the determinant for ubiquitination in NAC1. The molecular techniques will involve molecular cloning, PCR, protein electrophoresis, western blotting, yeast two-hybrid assay, and agrobacterium-mediated transient assay.

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