Engineering broad spectrum disease resistant proteins

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: School of Life Sciences


The application of engineering concepts via Synthetic Biology (SB) has not been explored as much in plants as in bacterial systems but promises significant scientific and biotechnological rewards. The highly versatile metabolic capabilities of plants and their ability to capture energy from sunlight makes them ideal platforms for energy-efficient generation of diverse synthetic products. Another promising avenue is that engineering plant responses to external conditions such as the presence of pathogens and environmental extremes can result in significant improvements in crop yields and help us ensure food production. Plant diseases are a continuous threat to food production causing crop losses that currently exceed $100 billion worldwide, which makes engineering a synthetic control system that can allow temporal control of plant immune responses particularly appealing. In nature, activation of plant immunity is achieved by specialized receptors, each of them evolved to recognize a limited number of pathogens. The aim of this proposal is to use engineering principles to build broad-spectrum immune receptors and resistance in plants. The development and application of these tools to is expected to expedite future genetic engineering and systems biology approaches aimed to prevent and/or control emerging disease in agriculture.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
2097387 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2022 Iosif Zacharia