Through a deeper understanding of pathogen-host interactions, this project will generate new tools, technologies and approaches for protecting whole ecosystems from disease. The project builds, in part, on the National Science Project (Ngā Rakau Taketake), which generated a new high quality genome sequence and chromosome level assembly for the kauri dieback pathogen Phytophthora agathidicida.
We will create gene models from this new genome sequence that will be evaluated to determine their potential roles in kauri dieback. The discovery that P. agathidicida can complete its life cycle in the model plant Nicotiana benthamiana provides an excellent model pathosystem in which to do this evaluation. We are planning a proteomics experiment to determine what proteins are secreted into the apoplast by the pathogen and the host.
This project also focuses on Phytophthora cinnamomi, a broad-ranging pathogen that is often found in kauri forests. The first stage of this work is to assess genetic diversity in isolates obtained from different hosts.
To achieve this, we have obtained a set of isolates from the Scion collection, checked the identity of the isolates, and are now preparing DNA for genome sequencing. Proteomics analysis of this species in N. benthamiana will follow in 2022, enabling comparative studies with P. agathidicida.