Annual meeting: 2017
Fields-Topics: P1 Molecular and Cellular
Type of talk: Fellows Speed Presentation
I studied Agricultural Engineering in Spain and joined the Institute of Agricultural Sciences (CSIC) in 2010 for my PhD studies. The topic was the integration of physical, chemical and biological tactics of pest control and associated viruses on horticultural crops. The scope was mainly ecological, and I worked to develop new strategies to control the spread of pathogens based on the interference with vector population growth, landing, movement and transmission on integrated production systems. I did two short stays in Wales and Australia to work in the response of insect vectors and plant pathogens to abiotic stresses (UV, CO2) under a climate change scenario.
During my AgreenSkills fellowship in the BGPI research unit in Montpellier my research aimed to characterize the molecular and cellular details of CaMV TA, with an emphasis on identification of plant factors involved in the different steps of transmission activation (TA). Our results helped to establish a basis for understanding TA, aphid recognition, aphid defence, signaling function and whether they are related.
Since November 2017 I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Crop Production Department of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, where I work on modern biopesticides such as baculovirus-based insecticides and candidate vectors of pathogen Xylella fastidiosa.
Our research team has discovered an unexpected phenomenon: Cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) forms precisely at the arrival of the aphid vector specific transmission morphs that dissociate after aphid take-off. Thus, this virus is transmission-competent only during the presence of vectors on the plant and when transmission is possible and can attribute cellular resources to other steps of the infection cycle for the remaining time. This phenomenon was named 'transmission activation' (TA), and requires that CaMV recognises via the plant perception systems the presence of aphids. My project aims to start characterising the molecular and cellular details of CaMV TA, with an emphasis on identification of plant factors involved in the different steps of TA. This will help to establish a basis for understanding TA, aphid recognition and defence, signalling function and whether they are related. TA is a very rapid process, thus it is likely that rapid posttranscriptional protein modifications regulate TA. I will try to identify proteins with these modifications that can be analysed by mass spectroscopy to reveal their identity and possibly the posttranscriptional modification. Proteins identified will be then validated. A direct role of the candidates will be assessed by infecting the mutants with CaMV and analyzing for transmission activity and phenotype. This will define the plant proteins involved in TA, and possibly their role. If time allows, this aspect will also be tested by monitoring aphid performance and behaviour on correspondent mutant and wild-type plants, either infected by CaMV or not.
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