Research objectives and content
Central questions in Rhodococcus mediated formation of galls are: which plant cells are the target for cell divisions induced by Rhodococcus and which signals are involved? Rhodococcus produces several virulence factors. Mutants that are deficient in the production of one of the factors as well as purified factors are available. The effects of the wild type bacteriurn, several mutants and the purified factors will be tested on Arabidopsis plants as well as tobacco cell cultures. We expect to discover which type of cells are targets for Rhodococcus and where these cells are located in the plant. To this end, transgenic plants with cyclin promoter-GFP fusions will be infected and in vivo GFP activity followed. By-comparing the effect of mutants and purified factors with that of a wild-type bacterium, the complex process of gall formation can be unraveled into steps.
Training content (objective. benefit and expecled impact)
During the project I will learn new techniques, such as plant genetics, plant cell culturing, and classical and confocal fluorescence microscopy. The project will provide an indispensable addition to my research experience in plant-bacterium interaction and will make me into a more omnipotent scientist in this field of research.