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Graduate Res Assistant

Richard Oliver R.OLIVER at uea.ac.uk
Tue Aug 23 03:25:36 EST 1994

School of Biological Sciences
Norwich NR4 7TJ
Tel; (0)603 592889
Fax; (0)603 592250
E-mail; r.oliver @ uea.ac.uk

Richard Oliver
Norwich Molecular Plant Pathology Group

Graduate Research Assistantship

Isolation and characterisation of fungal genes expressed during plant infection.

The aim of the project is to identify fungal genes expressed during the
infection of tomato by Cladosporium fulvum.

The underlying assumption is that genes induced during infection are likely
to be important for growth in the plant. The aim is not limited to genes
required only and specifically for pathogenicity, but is rather to obtain a
picture of the pattern of gene expression during pathogenesis.
        C. fulvum  is an excellent model system for this work. It is a
biotrophic pathogen which penetrates the host through stomata. No haustoria
nor appressoria are formed as the pathogen feeds in the apoplastic space.
It seems reasonable to suppose that genes homologous to those expressed by
C. fulvum  during pathogenesis, would be expressed by  other more complex
pathogens. C. fulvum  is non-obligate and several genetic tools such as
transformation, gene libraries and gene disruption are established. In
addition, the physiology of the interaction has been well studied.
        The obvious starting place to isolate fungal genes differentially
expressed during pathogenesis is to screen a cDNA library made from the
mRNA complement of infected plants for plant-induced fungal genes. However,
this is a complex procedure as pathogen-induced plant genes as well as
constitutive genes from both organisms are also being expressed. We
advanced the proposal that many genes induced during growth in the plant
would also turn out to be induced by starvation.  In the last few months we
have carried out a pilot scale trial of this hypothesis.  Five independent
clones were isolated and all five genes have been shown to be not only
starvation-induced but also plant-induced.
        The starting point of this prjoect is to extend the screen of
starvation-induced clones until about 50 plant-induced genes have been
isolated. These clones will be sequenced in order to obtAin clues as to the
genes' functions. Selected clones will then be disrupted and the
pathogenicity of mutants analysed.

The project is for three years, starting as soon as possible. The assistant
will be paid on the RAIB scale (approx £13601) and may be able to register
for a PhD.


Richard Oliver
Norwich Molecular Plant Pathology Group
School of Biological Sciences
UEA Norwich
Tel 44 603 592889 (direct line with answerphone)
Tell 44 603 592777 (departmental secretary)
Tel home 44 603 810791
fax 44 603 592250

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