Dr. Nabil Killiny
My research interests focus on the biology of pathogen-vector interfaces. Interactions between vector and pathogen vary from simple mechanical transmission to intricate interactions where the pathogens must develop and multiply within vectors. Our research focuses on the molecular characterization of different transmission systems including pathogens which colonize their vectors and either circulative or non-circulative in their vectors.
1-The circulative multiplicative systems:Spiroplasma citri/Circulifer haematoceps. Spiroplasmas ingested via phloem-sap feeding traverse the leafhopper gut wall, move into the haemolymph and invade the salivary glands, where they are introduced into the phloem of new host plant.
2- The multiplicative foregut-borne system: Xylella fastidiosa/Graphocephala atropunctata. X. fastidiosa cells colonize only the cibarium and precibarium of the sharpshooter vector’s foregut. The vector acquires and inoculates cells in the xylem sap of host plants during feeding.
3- The circulative multiplicative system: Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus/Diaphorina citri. The pathogen is phloem restricted in plant and transmitted by the Asian citrus psyllid.
The molecular characterization of the interactions between pathogen and its vector is important to understand the behavior of this pathogen and then target the transmission process using the appropriate strategy. Furthermore, in the context of sustainable agriculture we should use friendly environmental solutions. For that, developing alternative strategies based on the understanding pathogen-vector interactions is necessary.