UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Dissecting plant immune signaling van Wersch, Solveig Lillith


Pathogen infection in plants can result in plant disease. In crop plants, this can cause large losses in yield and profit, as well as endanger food security. The plant immune system that has evolved to fight off these infections differs from that of mammals greatly, but also involves tight regulation and complex signaling networks, to prevent under- or over-active immune expression. The many layers of plant immune signaling are still not completely understood. Here, two aspects of immune signaling are considered. Firstly, the theoretical explanations and practical considerations for the clustering of NLRs in genomes, both in pairs and in larger clusters were examined. I put forward that the frequency with which functionally linked NLRs are found to also have close genomic proximity is not coincident, and thus should be taken into consideration when examining the functions of NLRs located adjacent to other NLRs, and broader recognition capabilities considered in these cases. Secondly, mutants found through a suppressor screen of the autoimmune triple mutant camta1/2/3 were studied in order to better understand downstream signaling and immune crosstalk in Arabidopsis thaliana. Complementation tests revealed that most of the mutants identified carry mutations in known genes. However, a handful of mutants were identified that will pave the way to future discoveries of novel mechanisms of plant immune regulation. This suggests that new mutants could be found through continued screening, as we are moving closer to screen saturation.

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