Delivery of virulence proteins by fungal rust pathogens

The rust fungi are a large family of biotrophic pathogens that grow only on live host tissue. They are severe pathogens on a range of agricultural crops worldwide. During infection, they secrete virulence effector proteins into host cells to aid their colonization. The molecular mechanisms underlying effector delivery are poorly understood.

Scientific skills. We are using molecular biology tools and confocal microscopy to map the regions in rust effectors required for delivery into host cells, and to identify components of the effector secretion machinery. We have developed the worlds-first stable transformation method for flax rust fungus. This method allows us to further investigate effector protein trafficking in living pathogen and host plant cells. This project interfaces strongly with our stripe rust work on identifying effector molecules.

Transferable skills. Research and analytical skills, teamwork, communication, time management.

Partnership. This project is in partnership with Dr Peter Dodd's group in CSIRO Agriculture & Food, Black Mountain.