Richard supports the work of the Banfield Lab through project development and lab management.
Richard aims to use structural biology techniques and in planta studies to investigate the molecular mechanisms defining host-pathogen interactions.
He adopts medium and high-throughput approaches to identify proteins that can be expressed in a heterologous host for purification in a soluble, functional and stable form.
These include; (i) Effector proteins expressed by the pathogen; (ii) Host-interacting proteins targeted by effector proteins or (iii) Host resistance (R) proteins that can “sense” the presence of effector proteins. His host of choice for heterologous expression is E. coli, but he uses alternative hosts (yeasts, insect cells, plants) where necessary.
Experimental techniques to study protein structure and protein-protein (ligand) interactions include:
Di X., Cao L., Hughes R. K., Tintor N., Banfield M. J., Takken F. L. W. (2017)Structure-function analysis of the Fusarium oxysporum Avr2 effector allows uncoupling of its immune-suppressing activity from recognitionNew Phytologist (216)Publisher's version: 0028-646X
Maqbool A., Hughes R. K., Dagdas Y. F., Tregidgo N., Zess E., Belhaj K., Round A., Bozkurt T. O., Kamoun S., Banfield M. J. (2016)Structural basis of host Autophagy-related protein 8 (ATG8) binding by the Irish potato famine pathogen effector protein PexRD54.Journal of Biological Chemistry (291)Publisher's version: 0021-9258
Dagdas Y. F., Belhaj K., Maqbool A., Chaparro-Garcia A., Pandey P., Petre B., Tabassum N., Cruz-Mireles N., Hughes R. K., Sklenar J., Win J., Menke F., Findlay K., Banfield M. J., Kamoun S., Bozkurt T. O. (2016)An effector of the Irish potato famine pathogen antagonizes a host autophagy cargo receptor.eLife (5)Publisher's version: 2050-084X