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Current research

Plant pathogens secrete a collection of effector proteins. These effectors function to promote colonization, typically by altering host physiology or by modulating host immune responses. In the presence of cognate host immune receptor proteins, however, the same effectors trigger host immunity.

Our research largely focuses on the identification and functional characterisation of effectors across a range of pathosystems. These include three plant-pathogenic fungi, Venturia inaequalis, Cladosporium fulvum and Dothistroma septosporum, which cause scab and leaf mould disease of apple and tomato, and Dothistroma needle blight of pines, respectively, as well as from the plant-pathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa), which causes canker disease of kiwifruit. More recently our research has expanded to oomycete pathogens, including the kauri dieback pathogen Phytophthora agathidicida and the pine red needle cast pathogen Phytophthora pluvialis.

The aim of this research is to understand how these pathogens promote host colonisation or trigger host immunity through the deployment of effectors, with the goal of better informing disease resistance breeding programmes in kauri, pine, apple, tomato and kiwifruit.

Kiwifruit leaf Plant&Food Research2

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