MSc Thesis Topic: Successfull manipulation of plant cells by nematodes

Nematodes disorder the process of cell division in plants in a very directed way. The result of this purposive manipulation is the formation of a so called feeding cell complex in the root from which the nematode withdraws its food.

It is unknown how nematodes are able to act upon fundamental processes like cell division and cell differentiation. Ingeniously, the nematode reactivates the cell cycle in the plant cell, but simultaneous injection of mitosis-inhibiting compounds results in an aberrant cell cycle. Repeated cycles of endoreduplication of the chromosomes result in an increase in DNA content that is required for the metabolic activity of large cells like the feeding cell complex.

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To identify key components involved in this process we study nematode gene expression using cDNA-AFLP, expressed sequence tags (EST), bioinformatics and in situ hybridization technology. Nematodes disorder the process of cell division in plants in a very directed way. The result of this purposive manipulation is the formation of a so called feeding cell complex in the root from which the nematode withdraws its food. It is unknown how nematodes are able to act upon fundamental processes like cell division and cell differentiation. Ingeniously, the nematode reactivates the cell cycle in the plant cell, but simultaneous injection of mitosis-inhibiting compounds results in an aberrant cell cycle.

Successfull manipulation of plant cells by nematodes/Pictures: Geert Smant
Successfull manipulation of plant cells by nematodes/Pictures: Geert Smant

If you are interested in such functional genomics please contact: Geert Smant