Cuiping Wan: Plant Physiology First Author

Cuiping Wan, first author of “A serine-rich effector from the stripe rust pathogen targets a Raf-like kinase to suppress host immunity”

Current Position: PhD student at College of Plant Protection of Northwest A&F University, China

Education: Bachelor degree (College of Plant Protection of Henan Agricultural University); Master degree (College of Plant Protection of Northwest A&F University).

Non-scientific Interests: Outdoor activities.

Brief Bio:

I am currently perusing my Ph.D. in Prof. Jun Guo’s research group at the National Key Laboratory of Arid Area Crops in Northwest A&F University. My main research focuses on functional characterization of pathogenicity factors in wheat stripe rust pathogen (Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici, Pst). Functional analysis of Pst effectors have been severely hindered due to lack of stable transformation systems. In this study, we identified a serine-rich effector protein Pst27791 that suppresses plant immunity. To analyze the role of Pst27791 in Pst pathogenicity and host immune suppression, we generated Pst27791-RNAi and Pst27791-overexpression (OE) transgenic wheat plants with help of Agrobacterium-mediated wheat transformation system. Pst27791-RNAi plants exhibited high resistance to Pst infection. Besides, Pst-induced defense responses were suppressed in Pst27791-OE plants. Identifying host targets of effector proteins is essential for us to understand pathogen virulence. Fortunately, we found that Pst27791 interacts with a wheat Raf-like kinase TaRaf46. TaRaf46 functions as an active kinase to suppress host immunity and the virulence of Pst27791 is mediated by TaRaf46. These findings extend our understanding of the mechanisms by which biotrophic effectors suppress host immunity.