Plant pathogens translocate effector molecules into host tissues to support infection by subverting host processes in their favour and switching off host resistance.
The ways in which host primary metabolism is impacted during infection, and how this may favour susceptibility, is not yet well understood.
Sally’s project aims to study whether and how pathogens are able to manipulate host starch metabolism via secretion of effectors targeting sites of starch granule initiation within chloroplasts.
Her project, joint between the Faulkner and Seung labs, focuses on two specific chloroplast-localised effectors which co-localise with a known host starch granule initiation protein.
She aims to characterise the impact of these effectors on starch and sugar turnover, identify interacting host proteins to elucidate mechanisms by which this may be achieved, and explore the reasons that pathogens might target starch metabolism.