Geminiviruses are a large family of plant viruses with circular, single-stranded DNA genomes that replicate through double-stranded intermediates. Because of their limited coding capacity, geminiviruses supply only the factors required to initiate viral replication and depend on host DNA polymerases to amplify their genomes. Many geminiviruses replicate in differentiated plant cells that no longer contain detectable levels of host DNA polymerases and associated factors.
Geminiviruses are major impediments to food production in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, which together account for more than 60% of the 820M undernourished people worldwide. We are working on peptide aptamers and trans-dominant negative mutants that interfere with viral replication to confer stable, general resistance against these important plant pathogens and collaborating with researchers in Africa and Asia to move the technology into key crops.
In eukaryotes, DNA replication begins at specific sites in their genomes designated as origins of replication. Even though origins have been mapped to specific sequences in yeast, it has proven more difficult to define origins in higher eukaryotes. We are collaborating with other scientists to characterize plant origins of replication and to determine their relationships to matrix attachment regions, DNA methylation sites, recruitment of modified histones and transcriptional activity.
- BCH703 (Macromolecular Synthesis)
- BCH/GN761 (Advanced Molecular Biology of the Cell)
Area(s) of Expertise
DNA Replication and Transcription, Geminivirus Infection
- An experimental strategy for preparing circular ssDNA virus genomes for next-generation sequencing , JOURNAL OF VIROLOGICAL METHODS (2022)
- Early detection of plant virus infection using multispectral imaging and spatial-spectral machine learning , SCIENTIFIC REPORTS (2022)
- Vector acquisition and co-inoculation of two plant viruses influences transmission, infection, and replication in new hosts , SCIENTIFIC REPORTS (2022)
- A New Type of Satellite Associated with Cassava Mosaic Begomoviruses , JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY (2021)
- A calmodulin-binding transcription factor links calcium signaling to antiviral RNAi defense in plants , CELL HOST & MICROBE (2021)
- A protocol for genome-wide analysis of DNA replication timing in intact root tips , Methods in Molecular Biology series (2021)
- Loss of Small-RNA-Directed DNA Methylation in the Plant Cell Cycle Promotes Germline Reprogramming and Somaclonal Variation , CURRENT BIOLOGY (2021)
- Population diversity of cassava mosaic begomoviruses increases over the course of serial vegetative propagation , JOURNAL OF GENERAL VIROLOGY (2021)
- SnRK1: a versatile plant protein kinase that limits geminivirus infection , CURRENT OPINION IN VIROLOGY (2021)
- A plant DNA virus replicates in the salivary glands of its insect vector via recruitment of host DNA synthesis machinery , PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (2020)