This research proposal describes the development of a research program to study the biogenesis of Arabidopsis phytoalexins. We will begin by investigating the biosynthetic pathway of camalexin, a phytoalexin produced as part of the induced defense response. The first part of our two-phase plan for studying Arabidopsis phytoalexin pathways will focus on the identification of camalexin biosynthetic genes through a collaboration with the Ausubel lab at MGH. During this training period, I will attend relevant meetings and workshops, and I will consult regularly with three senior advisors to establish skills required for timely advance of the project. During the second, independent phase of the project I will biochemically characterize candidate phytoalexin pathway enzymes implicated by the data gathered during phase one. I expect that this work will serve as a springboard for the formulation of a new research program that uses a combination of genetics, chemistry, and biochemistry to elucidate secondary metabolite biosynthetic pathways in plants. A deeper understanding of these pathways will not only illuminate the molecular details of host-pathogen interactions, but it is also likely to have an important impact on human health, given the strong track record of plant natural products as clinically-used medicines.

Public Health Relevance

Plants produce a wealth of secondary metabolites for defense against destructive pests. The research program outlined in this proposal explores components of plant immune response pathways as well as the production, distribution, and metabolism of the contributing small molecules. These compounds are contained in commonly consumed vegetables and have been found to have beneficial effects on human health.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Type
Research Transition Award (R00)
Project #
5R00GM089985-03
Application #
8217242
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (NSS)
Program Officer
Anderson, Vernon
Project Start
2010-01-11
Project End
2014-01-31
Budget Start
2012-02-01
Budget End
2013-01-31
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$248,954
Indirect Cost
$73,034
Name
Stanford University
Department
Engineering (All Types)
Type
Schools of Engineering
DUNS #
009214214
City
Stanford
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
94305
Dunn, Briana J; Watts, Katharine R; Robbins, Thomas et al. (2014) Comparative analysis of the substrate specificity of trans- versus cis-acyltransferases of assembly line polyketide synthases. Biochemistry 53:3796-806