Fausto Andrés Ortiz-Morea, Ph.D.

Title
Postdoctoral fellow
Department
Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology
Institution
Texas A&M University
Address
Norman E. Borlaug Center
2123 TAMU
City, State, Zip
College Station, TX 77843
Phone
979-845-6317
E-mail
fandortiz@gmail.com
Website
https://mpmi.tamu.edu
Research Field
Molecular biology; immunology
Award Year
2019
Country Of Origin
Colombia
Mentor Name
Libo Shan, Ph.D.

In the Shan lab, I will explore how plants integrate and execute an immune response against invading pathogens. Plants have a two-tiered innate immune system for warding off infections: When a microbe breaches a plant’s first line of defense—its waxy surface and tough cell walls act as preformed barriers—receptors in the cell membrane detect microbial proteins (or plant cell proteins that are damaged during the invasion) and mount a generalized immune reaction. If the microbes manage to infiltrate the cells, they may begin to secrete molecules that advance their spread; these microbial molecules are recognized by a second set of receptors within the plant cell that trigger an immune response tailored to eliminate the specific invader. The Shan lab has discovered that these separate responses may be coordinated at the cell membrane by a receptor called ANX, which associates with components from each pathway. Using methods in molecular and cell biology, plant immunology, and microscopy, I will determine how these pathways are modulated by interaction with ANX receptors and whether damaged plant proteins also act through these ANX complexes; I will also explore how plants manage to launch a two-tiered immune response when components from each of the separate pathways interact with a common set of receptors. This work could lend itself to the production of crops with enhanced resistance to disease and generate significant excitement in understanding the convergent immune signaling against infections in plants and animals.

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