Search research reports:
Cellular and Molecular Biology of Plant Rhabdoviruses
Department of Plant Pathology
The need to prevent viral epidemics has never been greater. Globalization and rapidly increasing international trade of horticultural products make the spread of highly destructive viruses, and/or their insect vectors a real and present danger to U.S. and world agriculture.
Therefore the research objectives of this proposal involve utilizing N. benthamiana, the most widely used plant model in virology and pharmaceutical research to identify candidate genes for engineering plants to combat a variety of devastating viruses. Given the genetic relatedness of N. benthamiana to many crops of agronomic importance it is expected that the results of the proposed research can be translated to crop plants, which are far less tractable in terms of the genetics and molecular manipulations required to identify novel sources of resistance to viruses.
This project is built upon high-resolution yeast two-hybrid (Y2H) screens to identify N. benthamiana proteins that interact with either the movement or replicase proteins of plant-infecting rhabdoviruses. The rationale for the experimental design is based on the fact that the genomes of plant viruses typically encode movement proteins (MPs) that facilitate the transfer of viral replication complexes or mature virus particles from infected cells to adjacent cells where the infection process can continue. In order to function, MPs must interact with cellular factors that link adjacent cells. Identification of such factors and subsequent engineering to prevent their association with MPs, would provide an effective means to inhibit the systemic infection of plants and thus prevent disease. A second effective strategy would be to similarly identify and inhibit plant factors that are essential for function of viral replicase proteins that are required for increasing the copy number of viral genomes.
In addition the two hybrid screens, the proposed research seeks to determine how viral proteins interact with plant membranes and how they are imported into the nucleus. This research will provide fundamental insight into nuclear transport in plants, which is still poorly understood.
The importance of this research lies in the fact that the nucleus is the principal regulator of cellular functions, therefore and understanding of how proteins enter into and alter nuclear structure and function are essential for understanding how the physiology of cells is regulated. Taken together, the proposed research will offer novel insight into the molecular basis of virus-plant interactions, which could lead to novel strategies for engineering plants that are resistant to virus infections. This has critical importance for agriculture, as viruses are a major threat to food and fiber production in the United States and the world.
2011 Project Description
Results from the proposed research were presented by Goodin, at the invitation of the American Society for Virology (ASV), at a plenary session during the 30th Annual Meeting of the ASV. A postdoctoral scholar and a graduate student associated with this project also presented their research at the same conference. Goodin also presented invited seminars related to this work at The Pennsylvania State University in March 2011 and the University of Indonesia - Lampung, in June.
In addition to publications which are listed below, the impact of this work led to visits from International Scholars from Australia (Dr.Ralf Dietzgen, University of Queensland) and Jamaica (Dr. Natala Burnett, University of West Indies). Furthermore, four undergraduates enrolled in the Agricultural Biotechnology Program at the University of Kentucky received hands on training in techniques related to this project. Therefore, this project is providing valuable results and research experience along the continuum of post-secondary education, from undergraduates to established faculty at international institutions.
Martin KM, Dietzgen RG, Wang R, Goodin MM. Lettuce necrotic yellows cytorhabdovirus protein localization and interaction map and comparison with nucleorhabdoviruses. J Gen Virol. 2011 Dec 21.
Kormelink R, Garcia ML, Goodin M, Sasaya T, Haenni AL. Negative-strand RNA viruses: the plant-infecting counterparts. Virus Res. 2011 Dec;162(1-2):184-202.