Christelle Tiu

Mentor:

Peter DiGennaro

College of College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Major: Microbiology and Cell Science

Minor: N/A

Research Interests: Microbiology, Organic Chemistry, Dentistry

Organizations: 

Volunteer:

Hobbies and Interests: Reading, Violin and Piano, Composing. 

Research Description:

Activity of Parasitic Nematode Encoded Plant Peptides and their Role in Parasitism

The effects of nematode parasitism are expensive and agriculturally devastating.  The Root-knot nematode (RKN; Meloidogyne spp.) establishes an intimate parasitic symbiotic relationship with plants by manipulating host developmental processes to from feeding sites.  Little is known about the molecular mechanisms behind RKN parasitism and therefore a lack of sustainable control strategies has been developed to prevent such.  RKN feeding sites are created through plant cellular proliferation and differentiation developmental programs.  Normal plant development is controlled by hormones, including peptides like CLE (CLAVATA3/Endosperm surrounding region related).  Plant CLEs are divided into two groups based on gross function and are responsible for the development of the plant’s vascular system and speciation.   Interestingly, RKN genomes encode both types of CLE based on protein sequence similarity which may allow the nematode to manipulate both plant cellular differentiation and proliferation to form feeding sites.  This research project will aim to understand the role of nematode derived CLE mimics in altering plant development by measuring gross and cellular plant phenotypes as well as any antagonistic or agonistic effect these peptides have on nematode fecundity. In addition, with the use of null mutants for known plant CLE receptors, this research will identify the molecular pathways used by nematode peptide mimics to elicit disease. The results of this research will increase our understanding of RKN parasitism and lead to new sustainable control strategies.