Feed the world: engineering disease resistance in rice. (BANFIELD_J17DTP)

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


Plant diseases are a continuous threat to food production and a major constraint on achieving food security. Receptors of the plant immune system are critical agents in the fight against disease. Plant NOD-like receptors (NLRs) survey the intracellular environment for signatures of non-self, typically the presence and/or activity of translocated pathogen effector proteins, and trigger a response. One approach to addressing yield loss in crops due to plant diseases is to understand the molecular basis of interactions between NLRs and the effectors they have evolved to detect. This may allow engineering of these interactions to improve disease resistance in the field.
This project will focus on two NLRs from rice that use a similar protein domain, integrated into the NLRs, to recognise different effectors from the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. M. oryzae is the most devastating disease of rice, estimated to destroy enough rice to feed >212 million people annually. The student will apply biochemical/biophysical/structural and in planta approaches to direct probe physical interactions between the different proteins that trigger resistance. They will test the effects of varying the interfaces of these proteins in vitro and, working with collaborators in Japan, can have their predictions from in vitro experiments tested in vivo. The student will have the opportunity to travel to Japan to be involved in some of these experiments.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1937637 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Rafal Zdrzalek