Research conducted by the Laboratory of Nematology is part of the research program of the Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences (EPS) and C.T. de Wit Graduate School for Production Ecology & Resource Conservation (PE&RC).
Modulation of innate immunity by pathogen effectors in host plants and animals
There is a resemblance in all living organisms in the way that innate immune mechanisms allow early detection and defense against pathogens. In order to be successful in pathogenicity, parasites have developed effector molecules which modulate host immune responses.
Parasitic nematodes are important pathogens of animals and plants and cause diseases and crop losses worldwide. In animal and plant parasitic nematode species, venom allergens (VAs) have been described and they are thought to be important defense response immunomodulatory effectors. The best characterized VAs-like proteins derive from human and domestic animal parasitic nematodes. For plant parasitic nematodes, different VAs have been described although further functionality work has not been reported.
The objective of my research is to characterize the role of VAs in regulating plant and animal innate immunity, by using as models Globodera rostochiensis and Heterodera schachtii, two plant parasitic nematodes. The work includes protein production and purification, functional determination, protein-protien interaction identification, RNAi, cellular localization, in-planta overexpression, and model proposal for links between animal and plant parasite immune manupulation.