Zackry Stevenson
Year: 2017
Faculty Advisor: Adam Bogdanove

“Mobilizing pattern recognition receptor FLS3 to increase rice resistance to Xanthomonas oryzae”


Project Summary:

Earth’s population is predicted to reach 10 billion people by 2050. Rice is the number one staple food crop and many developing nations rely on this as a the main food source. One way to increase rice yields is to control rice pathogens. Plants have a first response system that is triggered by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) which recognize conserved pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) from bacteria to activate pattern triggered immunity (PTI). A well-studied PRR is the Flagellin Sensing Receptor 2 (FLS2) that recognizes the flg22 epitope of bacterial flagellin. This interaction results in production of reactive oxygen-species (ROS) and transcription of pathogenicity related (PR) genes. Another flagellar epitope, flgII-28, was recently discovered to be recognized by a different PRR, FLS3, which is found in tomato. This interaction enhanced tomato resistance to bacterial pathogens. Rice have a functional FLS2, but the flg22 region evades recognition allowing infection of the Xanthomonas oryzae bacteria without triggering FLS2 mediated PTI. Expression of FLS3 in rice would allow the plant to recognize the conserved region of flgII-28 turning on PTI. Rice may be more resistant to Xo due to detection of flgII-28.  Preliminary results indicate FLS3 presence, but no significant influence resistance to Xo.

My Experience:

This was an amazing opportunity for myself to learn new techniques that I can apply to any lab research that I conduct back at Doane University.  My mentors, Zoë Dubrow and Andy Read, were both professional and understanding while teaching these techniques. It was also important that they communicated why these techniques were necessary for the projects. They were always encouraging no matter the outcome, and always wanted the best for me, which was fantastic as I am new to research. Everything I’ve learned this summer has prepared me for graduate school, especially the abstract thinking that needs to be applied in order to see through the problems that occur in lab. Throughout this experience it has opened my eyes to plant research and researching in general and it has made me re-think exactly what I want to do with my life. I was set on physical therapy for grad school, but now I may want to pursue a research career after grad school.