Design new rice plants to cope with pathogens
Earth's population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. Plant agriculture must change fundamentally to support this number of people by mid-century. Rice is the most important food crop and therefore, improvement of rice is a key research goal.
Our ultimate goal is to design new rice plants to cope with biotic and abiotic stresses and improve important agronomic traits. We have been working on immune receptors and the small GTPaseOsRac1, which are major components of rice immunity. A comprehensive understanding of immune receptors and OsRac1 functions would allow the design of rice immune system to control pathogens. We are also interested in how plants orchestrate epigenetic regulations in responding to abiotic stresses. To address these issue, we have been investigating rice as a model system with a combination of several cutting-edge technologies including live imaging and gene editing.
Ongoing projects in Plant Immune Design Group
Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) and Resistance (R) proteins are crucial receptors that detect attack by insects and invasion by various pathogens including fungi, bacteria, viruses, etc. However, the signaling molecules which mediate PRR and R protein-induced immune responses are not yet fully understood. We would like to address this important question and have revealed that small GTPase OsRac1 acts as one of the master regulators in both PAMP-triggered immunity and effector-triggered immunity in rice.