Application of Basic Science in Plant Defense Engineering

Dr. Benjamin Schwessinger
Australian National University
Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 2:00pm
Mines 213

Surveillance of the extracellular environment by immune receptors is of central importance to eukaryotic survival. The rice receptor kinase XA21, which confers robust resistance to most strains of the Gram-negative bacterium Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), is representative of a large class of cell surface immune receptors in plants and animals. Benjamin will talk about the recent identification of a previously undescribed tyrosine sulfated Xoo protein, called RaxX, which is required for activation of XA21-mediated immunity. He will also describe his efforts on improving crop immunity by transferring immune receptors between phylogenetically distantly related plant species.

Protein tyrosine sulfation plays important roles in regulating plant development and in mediating the interactions of plants and animals with microbes (e.g. gp120 in HIV infection). RaxX is the first identified prokaryotic tyrosine sulfated protein. Its identification in the agronomical important rice pathogen Xoo will help to combat this disease by screening of field isolates and by generating synthetic receptors with novel recognition specificities.  These findings and Benjamin’s et al. efforts to correct the scientific literature  Application of Basic Science in Plant Defense Engineering