Protein kinase signaling cascades regulating plant cell death and their manipulation during plant-pathogen interactions
- View All
Resistance of plants to their pathogens requires the process of killing the infected plant cells, which helps to limit availability of nutrients for the pathogen and the spread of the pathogen. This type of cell death is termed programmed cell death (PCD) since the process is genetically encoded and controlled by products of these genes. Very few genes in plants that control PCD have been identified and characterized. By understanding how PCD is controlled in plants and the role of PCD in resistance to pathogens, scientists will be able to produce crop plants that have increased resistance towards pathogens and thus have a higher yield of product. As a model system to study regulation of host PCD in response to pathogen, we use tomato and its bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. This is a well studied system for both disease resistance and disease susceptibility. Currently, it is fairly well understood how tomato recognizes P. syringae to initiate resistance. But, what is not understood is what are the genes responsible for controlling PCD during resistance. Our lab has identified several proteins in tomato that are capable of controlling PCD and we have shown that these proteins may have roles in PCD regulation during resistance to P. syringae. In the proposed studies we will analyze how these PCD regulating proteins are controlled during the resistance response of tomato to P. syringae and determinehow these protein interactions are controlled during resistance. With the results generated for this research, we expect to gain a more detailed understanding of a key molecular mechanism underlying resistance responses to pathogens. Thus, we will be able to work toward production crop plants that are more resistant to their pathogens.