"Effectors are used by pathogens as weapons against their hosts. Puccunia striiformis f. sp. tritici (PST) the causal agent of yellow rust, is able to produce and secrete these proteins inside its host, wheat. This disease is responsible of epidemics around the world, including Europe. Even more, two new and aggressive strains of this pathogen may constitute the most expansive and accelerated spread ever of a wheat disease. The discovery and characterization of new effectors of yellow rust will open the door to new and sustainable resistance strategies, which is in accordance to European Union objective of sustainable management of crop pest diseases, that has been founded through the 6th and 7th framework programmes.
I propose the use of state-of-the-art sequencing technology to obtain putative fungal sequences from wheat infected tissues with four PST isolates, and a bioinformatics approach to search, identify, classify and select from these sequences which correspond to putative effectors. Afterwards I propose an innovative and elegant experiment to test whether they are real effectors, monitoring the collapse of effector-transfected protoplasts as a result of gene-for-gene recognition resistance mechanism.
The John Innes Centre, where this project will be carried out, and the nearby The Sainsbury’s Laboratory and Norwich Research Park compose a cluster of excellence and expertise in plant biology and microbiology that have been awarded by these EU programmes. I will take advantage of the multidisciplinary approach of the proposal and of the scientific expertise and training experience of the host to expand my knowledge and boost my career to reach a position of independent researcher.
Finally, the proposed IEF would make a significant contribution to ERA, sharing knowledge and enhancing the integration with other efforts founded by the EU like wheat breeding and genomics, giving more coherence to research in the food safety key area."
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