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The “parasitism-readers” of the world’s most damaging plant-parasitic nematode Meloidogyne incognita: new avenues to address food global security.

Objective

My proposal aims to understand how root-knot nematodes cause disease in the host plant.

Understanding how these parasitic worms cause disease is important because they have a worldwide distribution, they infect thousands of different plant species, and ultimately they represent a major constraint on achieving food security in Europe and beyond.

In this proposal I will link my expertise in root-knot nematodes at molecular and proteomic levels, with the host group expertise in the regulation of parasitism genes, to understand how the most economically damaging root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita successfully controls the process of plant-parasitism.

My proposal builds on the recent discovery of a non-coding DNA motif that is specifically enriched in the promoter regions of approximately 100 genes expressed in the root-knot Meloidogyne incognita dorsal gland (named Mi-DOG box). This discovery leads to two important ideas: Firstly, given that many effector proteins produced in this gland are delivered into the plant during infection, the Mi-DOG promoter is probably involved in the regulation of parasitism. Secondly, being a non-coding DNA motif, the Mi-DOG box is probably recognized by an associated protein or protein complex, a “reader” that coordinates the expression of secreted parasitism proteins, and ultimately orchestrates the process of plant parasitism.

In a formal connection between two world-class research institutions, the main objectives of my proposal are therefore to: 1) Identify the “readers” of Mi-DOG box using a combination of well-established and highly-innovative CRISPR-mediated methodologies, and 2) characterize the spatio-temporal expression pattern and functional role of these “readers” in M. incognita parasitism.

Overall, my proposal describes a novel scientific approach to address an emerging area of great promise with considerable translational potential, and ultimately to open up my best career opportunities for the future.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biological behavioural sciences/ethology/biological interaction
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/proteins
  • /engineering and technology/other engineering and technologies/food and beverages/food safety

Call for proposal

H2020-MSCA-IF-2018
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-CAR - CAR – Career Restart panel

Coordinator

THE CHANCELLOR MASTERS AND SCHOLARSOF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
Address
Trinity Lane The Old Schools
CB2 1TN Cambridge
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 319 400,64