MSc Thesis Topic: War of the worlds

How plants protect themselves against diverse pathogens.

Potato cyst nematode induced feeding cell
Potato cyst nematode induced feeding cell
Rx mediated cell death response in leaves of N. benthamiana upon recognition of the potato virus X coat protein
Rx mediated cell death response in leaves of N. benthamiana upon recognition of the potato virus X coat protein

Plants have various mechanisms to protect themselves against pathogens. The first step in the defense signaling pathway often relies on the recognition of pathogen proteins (but also pathogens use this strategy to find their host). The Rx1 resistance protein from potato, is activated by the coat protein of Potato Virus X (PVX CP) and the highly homologous Gpa2 resistance protein by Ran binding proteins (RanBP) secreted by the nematode Globodera pallida. From ongoing research at the laboratory of Nematology it has become clear that the C-terminal Leucine-rich Repeats of the Rx1 and Gpa2 proteins are essential for specific recognition. The N-terminal coiled-coil domain is responsible for the nuclear localization of the protein and possibly for downstream signaling. The coiled-coil domain is involved in interactions with the central region of the protein in an ATP dependent manner and with the Ran GTPase Activating Protein 2 (RanGAP2).