Previous Stewart Professor, Botany and Plant Pathology
KEYWORDS: microRNAs; RNA Interference; Epigenetics
Virus-Host Interactions Controlling Compatibility and Defense. Experimentally tractable plant viruses and Arabidopsis thaliana are used to study how viruses replicate and move through their hosts, how plants perceive and respond to viruses, and how viruses counter-respond to host defense responses. Arabidopsis mutants with altered susceptibility serve as starting points for map-based cloning of host genes involved in virus infection. The lab also investigates adaptive antiviral host responses, namely, RNA silencing. Most viruses encode RNA silencing suppressor proteins that disable parts of the RNA silencing response. Interestingly, these proteins also suppress microRNA-directed pathways, leading to a spectrum of developmental defects typically associated with virus infection.