Determining the function of novel pathogen-secreted proteins in plants

FUNDING: 10 weeks (full time, 37 hrs per week, £12 per hour, £850 consumables, £500 student accommodation bursary)
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 Dr. Mirela Coke, Biology, Leeds

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The parasitic potato cyst nematode Globodera pallida is a plant pathogen that develops a fascinating, close relationship with its host. Juvenile nematodes in the soil locate and penetrate host roots where they induce elaborate changes in plant gene expression and physiology and acquire a lifelong nutrient supply. These changes are orchestrated by hundreds of effector proteins secreted by the nematode. In our group, we have identified and cloned several novel effectors alongside their potential interacting proteins in the plant host cells. We now need to confirm these interactions using molecular techniques such as protein pull-down assays and Bimolecular fluorescence complementation in plant cells. This will give us some insight into effector function, supplemented by assays that involve downregulating the gene expression of these effectors. The successful student will gain experience in molecular cloning, protein purification and western blotting, down-regulation of gene expression through RNA interference and infection assays. We are looking for an enthusiastic student who has an interest in developing their skills in molecular plant pathology and would like to join our group for 10 weeks. Students will be expected to present their findings orally at a research day in York in September 2024.