The University of Chicago Header Logo

Defense amplification and priming in Arabidopsis

Collapse Overview 
Collapse abstract
Plants develop with a high degree of plasticity: their growth and ability to resist different stresses depends on their history and the current environment. Ubiquitous components of the environment are microbes, some of which promote plant health (stimulate growth and immunity) and others of which cause disease. Unlike humans, plants lack specialized circulating cells that provide immunity. Instead, plants use a chemical-based immune system. Specifically, natural chemical signals that plants produce confer protection against disease-causing microbes. Upon infection, some of these signals are transported throughout the plant to provide immunity. This project investigates how plant chemical signals and the cellular machinery needed for responding to them confer protection to plants against harmful microbes. Students will work in teams and be trained in experimental methods and data interpretation. The findings from this project could lead to commercialization of these natural immune-modulating chemicals for plant protection. The project will expose diverse high school and community members to emerging concepts in signaling and scientific research in general through workshops, lab work and community events. The Principal Investigator will develop a mentoring workshop to help other faculty recruit retain and train under-represented minority students.

Plant diseases reduce crop yield and quality. This project will elucidate mechanisms of defense priming and signal amplification that are essential for effective whole plant immunity and identify bioactive metabolites that can be commercialized for plant protection. Postdoctoral scholars will be trained in the interpretation and utilization of the latest molecular, cellular, proteomic approaches as well as techniques for metabolite analysis and will also learn mentoring skills. Aim 1 discerns how a key aminotransferase's different metabolite products control immune receptor levels and signaling outputs, respectively. The molecular basis for receptor regulation and how ligand-stimulated signaling steps are amplified will be examined. Aim 2 focuses on AZI1 and EARLI1, proteins that traffic between the site of priming signal generation and other sites. Their sites of action, targeting/trafficking mechanism and regulation by posttranslational modification and protein-protein interactions during establishment of systemic immunity will be elucidated. Aim 3, performed by undergraduate and high school students, will assess the roles of new systemic immunity protein candidates.
Collapse sponsor award id
IOS- 1456904

Collapse Biography 
Collapse contributor

Collapse Time 
Collapse start date
Collapse end date