Courses Offered at CREC

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Insect transmission of Plant Bacterial Pathogens PLP 6905


Course Description

The insect transmission process includes two main steps, both taking place during vector feeding on plants. The first step consists of pathogen acquisition by the vector from the source plant (host); the second step is the inoculation from the vector into a recipient plant.  However, in order to successfully accomplish the pathogen transmission, many interactions between the host, pathogen, and vector at the biochemical and molecular levels are involved. 

The bacterium-insect vector interactions involve propagation, circulation, and persistance with the vector body. The growth of plant-pathogenic bacteria in the vector's hemolympth indicates that the hemolymph contains all the necessary nutrients for bacterial growth. Thus, insect-transmitted plant-pathogenic bacteria may alter their vectors' fitness, survival, behavior, and metabolism.  In addition to nutrients, bacteria can take up energetic nucleotides, such as ATP, from its vector.  Interestingly, some bacteria are not circulative within the vector body, but localize only in the foregut where they multiply and form biofilm.

The interactions between the pathogenic bacteria and their host plant are limiting factor for insect transmission. Vector-plant interactions including attraction, preference, host specificity, and feeding site are also important factors relevent to transmission. The availability of bacterial cells to the vector in the host tissues is essential for the acquisition step.  In addition, in certain cases, the bacteria possess different transcriptomic types in plant and only one type is transmissible.  In brief, tritropic interactions should be well established in order to achieve successful transmission.

The course will discuss all aspects of insect transmission of plant pathogenic bacteria and will include several study cases.  Students will actively participate in lectures by reading and evaluating publications prior to the lectures.  There will be two lectures per week -- a two-hour lecture about a main topic and a one-hour lecture for discussion or guest lecture.  Guest lectures will be given by renowned professors and researchers in vector-borne plant bacterial disease.  Some guest lectures will be in prerecorded video format.  One research paper on a vector-borne bacterial disease (of student's choice) will be required for course completion.

Learning Objectives: The overall goal of this course is for students to gain knowledge about both the endemic as well as exotic vector-borne plant bacterial diseases and the biochemical and molecular interactions among bacteria, plant host and insect vector.  By the end of this course, student should be able to: 

- Understand the different transmission modes of plant bacterial pathogens 
- Understand the biochemical and molecular interactions mediating pathogen transmission
- Identify the role of insect vector biology and behavioral ecology in the spread of vector-borne disease
- Identify the role of vector-plant interactions in transmission efficiency.
- Become familiar with the potential control strategies to disrupt the insect transmission
- Realize the role of bacterial adhesion proteins and exopolysaccharides in biofilm formation on the insect gut.

Learning Modules: The course content for this class is divided into 4 learning modules including 

I.   Characterization of insect transmission of plant pathogenic bacteria
II.  Bacteria-vector interactions at the molecular and biochemical levels
III. Insects as host for plant bacterial pathogens: specificity (receptors) and energy and nutrition requirements 
IV. Interfering with insect transmission

Each module includes few lectures.  Every module has an associated graded quiz right after completion of the module.

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Nabil Killiny 
OFFICE: Building 7103, Room 5, Citrus Research and Education Center
OFFICE HOURS: Wednesdays 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, or by appointment.
PHONE: 863.956.8833