The discovery of type III secretion systems during the last decade has dramatically changed our understanding of the molecular basis of bacterial pathogen city. Type III secretion systems are conserved in animal and plant bacterial pathogens and are involved in the delivery of bacterialeffector proteins into the host cells. In plants, the identification of bacterial effectors is of an outstanding importance, since the understanding of the molecular processes leading to disease development and the identification of the corresponding molecular targets in the eucharistic cell opens the way to new biotechnological strategies for crop protection. In the plant pathogen R. solanacearum biochemical and genetic approaches led to the identification of several proteins that are exported through the Type III apparatus. The advent of the genome sequencing projects has facilitated the identification of new effectors based on protein homology or structural features or conservation of a consensus sequence in the corresponding genepromoters. A group of related genes that are called the GALA family and have no similarities in the databases has been identified through analysis of R. solanacearum genome sequence. The predicted proteins contain eucharistic features such as leonine-rich domains, which renders them good candidates as effectors proteins that carry out a function within the plant cell. The aim of this project is to characterise thoroughly this gene family in search for novel type Ill-dependent effectors. The process will include
a) study of their expression profile,
b) mutation and analysis of the resulting phenotype regarding pathogen city,
c) demonstration of protein translocation into plant cells,
d) sub cellular localisation of the protein once inside the plant and
e) identification of molecular targets within the host cell.
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