Investigating the molecular basis of bacterial pathogenicity of invertebrates
Pseudomonas syringae bacteria are common within the environment and can infect a wide range of plant species. These bacteria employ a diverse arsenal of virulence factors to attack plants. Recently, the bacteria have been discovered to interact with invertebrates, including insects and helminths. Remarkably, these bacteria can kill these invertebrates, although the genetic mechanisms for this are unknown. Recent work in the Jackson laboratory at University of Reading has found a range of genetic loci that contribute to colonisation of invertebrates, and in some cases kill them. This project will build upon this work to identify the specific gene(s), analyse the gene expression and decipher the role and function of the genes. Gaining an understanding of how these systems operate will provide the opportunity to unravel the complex ecology of the bacteria and shed light on potential mechanisms for survival and spread of the pathogen. Additionally, it will expand our knowledge of bacterial pathogenicity and identify new sources of biological products for biocontrol. The student taking on this project will gain skills in microbiology, genetics, bioinformatics, genomics, molecular biology and invertebrate biology.
Eligibility: Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in a relevant subject.
Stavrinides et al APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY (2009), p. 2230–2235
Stavrinides et al Environmental Microbiology (2009) Sep 24.