On Dec 18th, Ellen Ask Skotte defended her MSc thesis in Biology-Biotechnology. Ellen's project was entitled "Identifying pathogen genes involved in plant host infection - Utilizing the Arabidopsis-Botrytis interaction for identification of candidate genes".
The necrotroph and generalist Botrytis cinerea causes large crop losses every year. Fungicides have been developed but due to the natural genetic variation in Botrytis cinerea it has proven to be difficult to develop one for all strains. This project utilized dual-transcriptomic data from the Arabidopsis-Botrytis pathosystem to identify candidate genes by gene co-expression analysis. For one of these candidates, knockout mutants were generated in B. cinerea using a targeted gene replacement approach in the model strain B05.10. The fungal mutants were characterized an in planta virulence assay to quantify lesion sizes and the levels of the plant defense compounds camalexin and glucosinolates. Ellen's results indicates that the candidate gene does in fact play an important role in the Arabidopsis-Botrytis interaction and thereby illustrates the advantages of co-expression analysis for gene identification in this pathosystem.
In planta assay testing the virulence of Botrytis cinerea mutants (KO1, KO2) generated in this project. B05.10 is the wildtype fungus and grape juice was included as negative control.
Ellen after the Zoom examination
Ellen has carried out her project under supervision of Postdoc Parvathy Krishnan and Professor and partner in DynaMo center Meike Burow.