How do plant immune receptors evolve to outrace pathogens?

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

Abstract

Plants deploy a sophisticated immune system to detect and disarm rapidly evolving pathogens. The NB-LRR plant immune receptors (NLRs) provide genetic diversity necessary for pathogen recognition and elicitation of defence responses. Advancements of the targeted re-sequencing of plant NLRs, a technique called RenSeq, combined with latest sequencing technologies and evolutionary genetic analyses allow for the first time to unambiguously define NLRs in any plant species.

The goal of the studentship is to understand immune receptor evolution across plant families. The candidate will analyse at least six plant families including Rosaceae (strawberry & apple), Poaceae (oats), Chenopodiaceae (sugarbeet), Rubiaceae (coffee), Musaceae (banana), Rutaceae(citrus). The methodology will combine Renseq and bioinformatics to identify and analyse plant immune receptors. The targeted plants will include crops, their wild relatives and other species needed to fill the gaps in our knowledge of the natural history and evolution of plant immunity. The candidate will design Renseq capture assays and analyse the data obtained with the latest sequencing technologies. The analyses will be established for each plant family, identifying shared domain architectures and expanded sub-families. The candidate will evaluate contribution of domestication towards the evolution of plant immune receptors.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1771179 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2016 01/09/2018 Erin Baggs