High resolution maps of plant responses to Aphid attack

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Graduate Office


Plants defend themselves against biological attack using chemical and cellular defence responses which involve dramatic transcriptional changes. To date detailed molecular analysis of these responses have been investigated at the gross scale (whole leaf) due to the amount of tissue required, yet this loses information on the differential responses of cells at different distances from the attack. Now by combining LOw RNA-Input Sequencing (LORIS) technology with microscopic tissue dissection it is possible to obtain 2D maps of transcriptional changes throughout a leaf.
This project will use LORIS to examine leaf responses to attack by the aphid Myzus persicae which has a broad plant host range (including Arabidopsis thaliana), transmits more than 100 different plant viruses and has developed resistance to the majority of insecticides on the market. As Aphids feed for long periods of time at a single location, we can observe and model changes in gene expression originating at the point of attack and surrounding areas. Using a grid pattern overlaid on the leaf, squares containing the aphid feeding site and surroundings area will be dissected and processed to create transcription profiles.

The successful student will examine temporal and spatial transcriptional changes due to aphid attack, and further dissect the pathways using A. thaliana mutants of receptor-like proteins (likely early recognisers of aphid attack) and plant mediated RNA interference down-regulation of aphid effector genes. Working in our multi-disciplinary team provides opportunities to learn aphid and plant defence response biology, molecular biology, next generation sequencing, transcriptomics, bioinformatics, gene network analysis, and functional validation using genetics and RNAi.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1653662 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2019 Michael Giolai
Description The Genome Analysis Centre - Open Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I attended the The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) open day communicating group projects and activities to the visiting general public. A broad spectrum from science enthusiatsts, professionals to scholars and undergraduate students interested in the scientific work at TGAC was attending. In interactive discussion and poster presenting sessions people had the chance to ask questions about group related research and research at TGAC.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015