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Plant Biology

HHMI Gilliam Seminar Series: Assessment of viral influence on plant root colonization by plant growth promoting rhizobacteria

Beneficial members of the plant microbiome can increase nutrient availability for their hosts, protect their hosts against pathogens, and enhance host resilience against abiotic stress. While previous and ongoing studies of the rhizosphere microbiome have been critical for assessing the impact of specific plant-microbe interactions, their focus has overwhelmingly targeted bacterial and fungal members of the microbiome. Viruses are ubiquitous, outnumbering all other biological entities on the planet, yet they are remarkably understudied in the rhizosphere.

Modularity-driven diversification of pathogen effectors

The dynamic interplay between virulence factors of a pathogen and the immune system of a host determines whether disease will occur. A deep understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie host-pathogen arms race is essential for developing durable resistance. Pathogens have evolved a large and diverse complement of virulence proteins, called effectors, which, collectively, are indispensable for disease development. An important feature of effectors is their fast evolution driven by adaptation towards a host.


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