Cyst nematodes are plant parasites that induce specialized syncytial feeding structures inside the roots of their host plants. On favorable conditions, nematodes hatch from the eggs, present inside the cysts. They enter the host root from the elongation zone and migrate intracellularly to reach the vascular cylinder. During the migration phase, the nematodes cause extensive damage to the root cells. On the other hand, plants readily deposit lignin upon pathogen infection to create a physical barrier to restrict pathogen spread. In this context, MYB15 is a transcription factor that activates lignin biosynthesis genes in plant tissues under a variety of pathogen attacks. However, the role of MYB15 in plant-nematode interaction is not yet clearly understood. In a current project, we will use T-DNA knock-out mutants, MYB15 overexpression, and MYB15 marker lines of Arabidopsis plants for evaluating nematode infections. Next, the phenotypic analyses including several developed nematodes and measurements of their feeding structures will be performed. The studies will help to explore the lignification of root cells as a potential physical barrier against nematodes.  

Supervisor: Peter Marhavy, Dept of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, SLU.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.