Generating disease resistance in tomato by editing defense trafficking and signaling pathways
Research project 2
Project researcher: Maya Bar
Plants are sessile and constantly challenged by many microbial pathogens. Pathogens face two-layer immunity: the first layer of plant immunity employs plasma membrane recognition receptors (PRRs). PRRs detect microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs). After MAMP perception, PRRs activate pattern-triggered immunity (PTI), a coordinated collection of cellular responses. The second layer consists of nucleotide-binding (NB) leucine-rich repeat (LRR) proteins (NLR) that recognize intracellular effectors, leading to NLR Triggered Immunity (NTI). Both layers activate signaling cascades, resulting in robust transcriptional and physiological changes, restricting pathogen attack. Activating plant immunity requires both endocytosis and trafficking of PRRs and activation of intracellular signaling receptors through NTI. Some NLRs appear to function in pairs where one serves as a sensor recognizing the effector (s-NLR) and the other as a helper mediating the signaling cascade (h-NLR). In Solanaceae, a subfamily of NLRs termed NLR required for cell death (NRC) emerges as a critical family of NLRs.
Research project 2 - Maya Bar
genome editing towards disease resistance.
Single mutants in NRC-type genes are significantly more resistant to grey mold disease. A double mutant is even more resistant.
Endocytosis is fundamental to the regulation of plant immunity, being involved in many different steps of plant immune mechanisms, such as regulation of PRR activity through recycling and endosomal movement of defense proteins. Endocytosis and trafficking during plant immune responses are mediated by several regulatory proteins whose function determines immune response selectivity, directionality, speed, and intensity. One such family of proteins is the EH (Eps15 homology) Domain (EHD) containing proteins. In this project, we are generating and characterizing single and double mutants in NRC family genes. We have demonstrated that some of these mutants possess superior disease resistance and increased immune responses, potentially improving agricultural quality. We are in the process of generating EHD gene knock-outs using genome editing to obtain increased defense signaling resulting in pathogen resistance.
Maya Bar

Maya Bar
Project researcher

Department of Plant Pathology and Weed research, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Institute.

Email: mayabar@volcani.agri.gov.il

Phone: +972-3-9683769

Website: Maya Bar

Research areas:

  • Structure-function relationships in plant-microbe interactions.
  • Biocontrol and biosensing in crop plants.
  • Cell biology of plant-pathogen interactions.
  • The role of hormones in plant-pathogen interactions.

Research partners:

Meirav Leibman-Markus
Research associate

Email: meiravl@volcani.agri.gov.il

Research areas:

  • Structure-function relationships in plant-microbe interactions.
  • Biocontrol and biosensing in crop plants.
  • Cell biology of plant-pathogen interactions.
  • The role of hormones in plant-pathogen interactions.

institution:
Plant Protection Institute, department of Plant Pathology and Weed research, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Institute.

Rupali Gupta

Rupali Gupta
Postdoctoral researcher

Research area:

  • The effects of plant structure/ development on plant pathogen interactions.

institution:
Department of Plant Pathology and Weed Research, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Institute.

Anat Schneider
Master

Research area:

  • Exploring relationships between development and defense pathways in induced resistance.

institution:
Department of Plant Pathology and Weed Research, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Institute.