Speaker: Gitta Coaker, Ph.D., Professor, University of California, Davis.

When December 6, 2021, 3:35 PM - 6:00 PM

Where Foster Auditorium

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Title: Investigating plant immune perception and pathogen virulence in bacterial vector-borne disease.

Climate change is predicted to increase the prevalence of vector borne disease due to expansion of insect populations. Despite the importance of bacterial vector-borne pathogens, our understanding of how they manipulate their hosts is in its infancy compared to free-living pathogenic organisms. Candidatus Liberibacter species are unculturable, slow growing, phloem-limited pathogens associated with multiple economically important diseases in citrus and Solanaceous crops. We studied Liberibacter effectors to gain insight into disease development in both tomato and citrus. SEC secreted effectors were identified from four different haplotypes. Liberibacter effector subcellular localization, cell-to-cell movement and expression patterns were determined. Our results demonstrate that Lso differentially deploys suites effectors capable of targeting diverse eukaryotic subcellular compartments to modify its insect vector and plant hosts. Data will be reported on effector plant targets as well as our progress on utilizing a mechanistic understanding of plant immunity to target vector-borne disease.

Dr. Gitta Coaker is a Full Professor at the University of California, Davis. She performed her Ph.D. at The Ohio State University (2003) in the group of Professor David Francis and was a USDA Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley (2004-2007) with Professor Brian Staskawicz. She joined the faculty at the University of California, Davis in 2007. Dr. Coaker’s research program focuses on the interaction between bacterial pathogens and plants. Her work focuses on understanding kinase-mediated immune signaling and pathogen effector targets in both model and crop plants. Recent research investigates vascular pathogens, including vector-borne disease associated with Liberibacter species in citrus, tomato and potato. She was awarded the William H. Krauss Award for Research Excellence (2004), NSF Career Award (2011), Chancellor’s Fellow for Research Excellence (2013), NIH Outstanding Investigator Award (2020) and Graduate Student Mentoring Award at the University of California, Davis (2020).

Panel presentations and discussions will immediately follow the lecture.

This year's panelists are:

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