Understanding roles of NAD-capped RNAs in regulating virulence of the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae

Project: Research project

Project Details


The bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae causes economically important diseases on a wide range of crops and has been extensively used as a model for studying the molecular mechanisms of pathogen virulence and host immune responses. Among the best studied attack and defense mechanisms are the type III effector proteins and toxins that serve as bacterial virulence factors to suppress host immunity and the RESISTANCE proteins in the plant that counteract them. However, our knowledge about the complex regulatory systems in the pathogen that precisely control expression of the effector and other virulence genes during interactions with plants is far from complete.

Bacteria use a combination of regulatory proteins and regulatory RNAs to control gene expression in response to biotic and abiotic cues. In recent years, it has been found that some RNAs in bacteria and eukaryotic organisms contain the NAD moiety at their 5’ ends (instead of the common methyl guanosine cap in eukaryotic mRNAs), indicating a new layer of gene regulation mediated by NAD-capped RNAs. We recently developed a method for transcriptome-wide analysis of NAD-RNAs. Using this method, we identified over 300 genes in P. syringae that produce NAD-RNAs. Interestingly, under the condition resembling the host environment, a high proportion of virulence effector genes were found to produce NAD-RNAs. Our preliminary results indicate that NAD- RNAs transcribed from virulence genes might play an important role in regulating expression of those genes during infection and colonization of the plant host.

The proposed project aims to understand the role of NAD capping and decapping in regulating genes and pathways involved in the virulence and fitness of P. syringae through the use of genomic, genetic, and molecular technologies. The knowledge gained from this study will both add to our understanding of pathogenesis of other plant and human pathogens and aid disease control strategies in crop production
Effective start/end date1/11/2031/10/23

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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