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Structural studies of cell wall proteins involved during pathogenesis

protein crystals

CSIRO [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Study the structure of fungal cell wall proteins using ion mobility mass spectrometry and X-ray crystallography.

Fungi and oomycetes are notorious pathogens responsible for infections in plant particularly of agricultural importance. Among different diseases, the late blight disease of potato and downy mildew of grape are examples of infections in plant caused by these pathogens. Chitin is one of the important cell wall components of fungi and oomycetes, which is not common in other plant species. This enables us to target chitin synthesis pathway as an attractive drug target.

Chitin Synthases (CHSs) are transmembrane cell wall proteins which are responsible for the synthesis of chitin, but the molecular mechanism is not clearly understood. The molecular structure of CHSs will significantly contribute in understanding the underlying mechanism of chitin synthesis as well as designing inhibitors for this pathway. In this project, we will study the molecular structure of CHSs using Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry as well as X-ray Crystallography.

You will develop skills in:

  • Protein expression and purification
  • Protein crystallography
  • Ion mobility mass spectroscopy

Key References:
Kuang, G., Bulone, V. and Tu, Y., 2016. Computational studies of the binding profile of phosphoinositide PtdIns (3, 4, 5) P 3 with the pleckstrin homology domain of an oomycete cellulose synthase. Scientific reports, 6, p.20555.


Supervisor

Tagged in Honours projects - Plant science, Honours projects - Alan Little, Honours projects - Obayed Ullah, Honours projects - Vincent Bulone, Honours projects - Agricultural science