Phytopathological biotechnology (2017/2018)



Course code
4S00700
Credits
6
Coordinator
Annalisa Polverari
Academic sector
AGR/12 - PLANT PATHOLOGY
Language of instruction
Italian
Teaching is organised as follows:
Activity Credits Period Academic staff Timetable
teoria 5 I sem. Annalisa Polverari

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laboratorio 1 I sem. Annalisa Polverari

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Learning outcomes

The student will acquire an overview of the plant disease defense issues, with brief introduction to biology and epidemiology of major plant pathogens and the main methods of diagnosis and control.
Special attention will be devoted to a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity and virulence and host-pathogen interactions, with particular reference to the resistance of plants to the pathogen and related biotechnological applications.

Syllabus

General concepts on plant disease; description of the principal biotic plant pathogens (fungi, bacteria, phytoplasmas, viruses and viroids). Nutritional strategies and life cycle of plant pathogens. Symptom analysis and description.
Diagnosis of plant pathogens with traditional, molecular and serological techniques.
Basic concepts in epidemiology, plant disease management and control.
Molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity and virulence.
Phytopathogenic fungi and pseudo-fungi; general life cycle and virulence factors. Detailed life cycle for Plasmopara viticola, Erysiphe necator, Venturia inaequalis, Botrytis cinerea, Puccinia graminis.
Phytopathogenic bacteria: virulence factors, function of hrp and avr genes. Detailed life cycles for Erwinia amylovora, Pseudomonas syringae.
Phytopathogenic viruses: basic knowledge of replication, gene expression, assembly, movement of the viral particle into the infected plant. Detailed examples: Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV), Potato Virus Y (PVY). Viral transmission through vectors. Satellite viruses and satellite RNAs. Use of viruses as expression vectors. Basic knowledge of phytoplasmas and viroid infection process and epidemiology.

Plant-pathogen interaction and plant resistance to disease. Molecular bases of host specificity. Non-host resistance and race-specific resistance.
Plant-pathogen recognition: the elicitor-receptor model and the guard model.
Structure, function and evolution of plant resistance genes.
Signal transduction in plant resistence: reactive oxygen species, nitric oxide, salycilic acid, jasmonate and ethylene in plant defence.
Mechanisms of resistance: pathogenesis-related proteins, gene expression related to resistance. Post-transcriptional gene silencing as a resistance mechanism against viral pathogens.
Systemic resistance responses: Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR); Induced Systemic Resistence (ISR); Systemic Wound Response.
Biotechnological approaches to breed resistant plants:
transgenic expression of genes deriving from other plants, from other organisms and from pathogens (pathogen derived resistance).

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam to evaluate students' learnings and capacity to use and connect the information in an systematic body of knowledge.

Reference books
Activity Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
teoria Belli Giuseppe Elementi di Patologia vegetale Piccin-Nuova Libraria 2015
teoria Agrios G.N. Plant Pathology (Edizione 4) Harcourt Academic Press 1997 0120445646
laboratorio Belli Giuseppe Elementi di Patologia vegetale Piccin-Nuova Libraria 2015
laboratorio Agrios G.N. Plant Pathology (Edizione 4) Harcourt Academic Press 1997 0120445646

STUDENT MODULE EVALUATION - 2017/2018