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Research Abstracts Online
January - December 2011

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Carleton College
Department of Biology

PI: Raka Mitra

Effector-Triggered Immunity and Effector Targets in the Bacterial Wilt Disease of Tomato

In the field, plants are exposed to numerous pathogenic microorganisms and employ a multi-layered defense arsenal to limit pathogen invasion and growth. The bacterial wilt pathogen, Ralstonia solanacearum, causes one of the most devastating bacterial diseases of plants worldwide, affecting hundreds of plant species including many major crops such as tomato and potato. This pathogen typically infects plants via the root systems and ultimately colonizes the plant vasculature resulting in plant wilting and death. R. solanacearum employs a type III secretion system to deliver effector proteins into the plant cell. The role of most of these effectors in virulence or ETI has not been explored. This research examines the role of R. solanacearum effectors in immunity and disease of tomato. MSI resources are used to analyze DNA sequences and large-scale RNA-seq datasets. The findings will be broadly important, as they will further the understanding of the mechanism of bacterial wilt pathogenesis, which should help in crop protection.