David Thaller
David Thaller
Year: 2012
Faculty Advisor: Jian Hua

Role of HSC Proteins in BON1 mediated suppression of plant immunity in Arabidopsis thaliana

Project Summary

Plants possess two levels of immune responses. The first level is Pathogen Associated molecular patterns or PAMPs, which are recognized by cell surface receptors that trigger immune responses. A second level is Effector-Triggered-Immunity, which utilizes resistance proteins, created by Resistance (R) genes to recognize pathogen effectors. The plant gene BON1 has been shown to have a significant role in the modulation of plant immunity. A study of bon1 suppressors has shown that BON1 is acting as a repressor on the haplotype-specific (R) gene SNC1, which stimulates the production of plant defense compounds. In the bon1 mutant, an increase in the activation of SNC1 and the overproduction of defense compounds is observed. The goal of this research is to investigate how the SNC1 R gene pathway is activated in bon1 mutants. Through co-immunoprecipitation, three chaperone proteins, HSCA, HSCB, and HSCC, have previously been identified as BON1 interacting proteins. Two models for the role of HSC in BON1 modulated defense have been suggested. To differentiate between the models, I isolated the triple mutant snc1-1 hsca hasc whose pathogen resistance will be tested. The results of this study will give a better understanding of the regulation pathways that are associated with R gene plant immunity and can be used to better understand immunity in both plants and animals.

My Experience

I thoroughly enjoyed my research experience this summer. Working alongside my mentor, I learned multiple lab techniques such as PCR, restriction enzyme digests and dip inoculation pathogen tests.  In addition I took part in a variety of research projects as well as concurrently working on my own major project.  Over the course of the summer, I became very confident in my laboratory techniques and ability to troubleshoot and work around problems.  Through working independently, I gained self-reliance and confidence in my ability to conduct research myself.  Along with my laboratory research experience, I enjoyed the weekly PGRP seminars.  The lectures given by professors were both stimulating and enlightening.  Overall, the PGRP experience was an excellent experience where I got to do my own research, learn about the research at BTI and Cornell, and meet some truly amazing people.