Jenifer Seematti Sundar
Phytophthora infestans is an oomycete that causes potato late blight. It is notoriously known for the Irish potato famine of the 19th century. It infects plants successfully through the secretion of proteins called effectors. These effectors are targeted during resistance plant breeding; however, due to sexual reproduction P. infestans effectors evolve rapidly and breeding programs are unable to keep up. Bioinformatics screens have predicted ~500 effectors but less than 20 have been studied in plants. We will use Swedish (diverse), Chinese (clonal) and Dutch (clonal) P. infestans isolates to mine effectors using the PenSeq enrichment sequencing technique. Population genetics work to study the spatial and temporal dynamics will be carried on too. The top effector candidates will be functionally characterized. Some P. infestans effectors, such as the Avr1-like effector, are suggested to act as suppressors of RNA silencing in plants. We will elucidate the role of such effector proteins and see whether they act as master regulators of pathogenicity. Finally, P. infestans has been found to secrete some enzymes and putative effectors to defend itself when Pythium oligandrum, a mycoparasite, attacks it. We will functionally characterize these putative effectors to find the exact roles and underlying mechanisms. This way, a better biocontrol formulation of P. oligandrum can be developed.
2018-2019 Research Assistant, Protein and Nucleic acid Biophysics, CSIR - Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi, India
2015-2017 MSc Plant Biotechnology, Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands
2014-2015 BTech thesis (kidney fibrosis), Vaidya Lab, Harvard University, USA
2011-2015 BTech Genetic Engineering, SRM University, Chennai, India
Prof. Laura Grenville-Briggs Didymus (main supervisor)
Prof. Jiasui Zhan (co-supervisor)
Jadhav, S., Ajay, A.K., Trivedi, P., Seematti, J., Pellegrini, K., Craciun, F., Vaidya, V.S. (2016). RNA-binding protein Musashi homologue 1 regulates kidney fibrosis by translational inhibition of p21 and Numb mRNA. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 291(27), 14085-14094.