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Elucidating plant-pathogen interactions at the protein level

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Verticillium species are destructive vascular wilt fungi with worldwide distribution, causing severe losses in crop yield and Quality.

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These soil-borne pathogens colonize the plant root surface in response to root exudates, penetrate the cortex and endodermis, and spread systemically through conidia transported by the transpiration stream in the xylem. While a large body of physiological and biochemical alterations in the host are reported, the cellular effects of pathogen colonization on the host’s root are still not fully clarified.

This project focusses on the time-resolved analysis of the tomato root proteome in response to fungal colonization. We aim to address the question on how pathogen attack influences the tomato root proteome over several stages of fungal colonization behavior. A proteome analysis using two-dimensional differential in gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGE) is used to identify proteins related to the fungal spread at the respective time points. Differential proteins are excised from gels and subjected to MALDI-TOF MS/MS for identification. Functional characterization of candidates involved in the root’s response to Verticillium will be performed on the transcript as well as metabolic level.

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