Harley King Xiao Lab

Harley King
Xiao Lab

Student Spotlight

Twelve percent of global crop failure is due to pathogens. Plants have evolved a two-tiered immune system resulting in the regulation of many genes. For example, in response to powdery mildew infection, more than 1500 genes are regulated in Arabidopsis thaliana. Among these regulated genes are RPW8.2, PP2C11, and 14-3-3lambda. Previous work in the Xiao lab discovered that RPW8.2 from Arabidopsis thaliana confers broad-spectrum resistance to powdery mildew disease caused by biotrophic fungal pathogens Golovinomyces cichoracearum spp. The RPW8.2 protein has been shown to be specifically targeted to the host-pathogen interfacial membrane termed the extrahaustorial membrane (EHM) whereby it activates defenses to constrain the fungal feeding structure named the haustorium. How RPW8.2 interacts with PP2C11 and 14-3-3lambda is not well understood. My experiments help characterize these interactions. Understanding plant responses to pathogens will be key to augmenting plants for increased protection.