Mechanisms involved in crop resistance to the green peach aphid Myzus persicae

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

Abstract

The green peach aphid (GPA) Myzus persicae and other insects produce virulence proteins (effectors) in their saliva that interact with plant proteins (targets) to modulate key plant processes, such as plant defense responses, that make the plants more susceptible to aphid colonization. Hence, we wish to increase plant resistance to aphids by preventing effector-target interactions through the introduction of effector-insensitive target alleles into plants using transgenic and non-transgenic approaches.

If successful, this project will open up a plethora of new avenues to obtain resistance to GPA, and possibility other sap-feeding insects, of multiple economically important plant species.

This project is a collaboration with SESVanderHave UK LTD (SV), a leading breeder of sugar beet varieties with a proven performance worldwide. A goal of this proposal is for SV to develop resources and technologies so that they will be in an excellent position to take advantage of the new discoveries made in this project and obtain GPA-resistant sugar beet more quickly.

The student will focus on achieving the following aims:

-Assess how GPA effectors modulate Arabidopsis thaliana defense responses to aphids.
-Determine to what extent the A. thaliana response pathways modulated by GPA effectors are conserved in sugar beet.
-Examine variations in defense responses among sugar beet lines/accessions to GPA.

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
1805607 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2020 Roland Wouters
 
Description Roland Wouters DTP 
Organisation John Innes Centre
Department Department of Crop Genetics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution As part of an ongoing collaboration with Prof. Saskia Hogenhout (SH) (FLF host) I have joined the supervisory team of JIC PhD student Roland Wouters. This has given me an opportunity to gain experience of student supervision and mentorship to aid my career development and given RW the benefit of my experience and experitse in evolutionary genomics. I have been sueprvising RW since April 2018 attending regular progress meetings, giving feedback on experimental design and training in bioinformatics.
Collaborator Contribution RWs PhD project and my fellowship will benefit from improving the genome assembly of the green peach aphid Myzus periscae. SH has therefore provided funding for nanopore long read sequencing (approx £2,000) and in vivo HiC library preparation and sequencing (~£5,000). RW optimised nanopore sequencing of aphids as part of his PhD project and I used this data to generate a contiguous, high quality, chromosome-scale assembly of M. persicea. This assembly will be used for aphid comparative genome analysis detailed in my fellowship and for population genomic analysis of RW.
Impact None as yet.
Start Year 2018
 
Description A visit of undergraduate students from Ghent University College (BE) to the John Innes Centre 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Visit by ~30 students and staff of Ghent University College, Belgium. 2 post-docs from the Hogenhout lab and I presented and summarised the work that is done in the Hogenhout lab.
we were able to talk with the students to increase their interest in plant-insect interaction and if them greater knowledge of the impact of the research for crop resistance to the green peach aphid. Additionally, we were able to explain the diversity of aphid species and the differences in host range and host species.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description A visit of undergraduate students from Wageningen (NL) to the John Innes Centre 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact ~30 undergraduate and graduate students from Wageningen University visited the John Innes Centre. During this visit I was able to show them the John Innes Centre and explained how it is to be a postgraduate student in the UK under the Doctoral Training Programme. Additionally I was able to show my enthusiasm in plant-insect interactions. I was able to convince the impact and the interest in research of the green peach aphid.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Contributions to the JIC 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 helped during the open day of the John Innes Centre for its 50th year in Norwich. I was able to explain my project to the general public and gain their interest for plant insect interactions. Moreover, I was able to raise the importance of research for resistance to the green peach aphid.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Visit to JIC by the Flying Farmers association 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Visit to JIC by the Flying Farmers association. During this they reported a raised interest in the research performed at the JIC. Additionally, I managed to inform them about the importance of plant resistance against insect pests.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018