Our goal is to integrate molecular, cell
biology, genomic, and genetic analyses with
plant pathology to improve our understanding of
how pathogen and host plant interact.
our current work is focused on Xanthomonas
oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) and X. campestris pv.
campestris (Xcc), which cause bacterial blight
on rice and black rot on crucifer, respectively.
Both Xoo and Xcc invade hosts through natural
openings (hydathodes, stomata, and wounds) and
employ protein secretion systems, mainly the
type II and type III, to successfully inhabit
and multiply in plants. They also secrete
phytotoxins in the late phase of infection.
However, they differ significantly in their host
range: Xoo infects monocots whereas Xcc affects
dicot plants. The question as to how these
pathogens use “similar” mechanisms to alter
plant responses to benefit their growth remains
to be elucidated. The immediate aim of our
research is to use genomic approaches to
identify the key players in pathogenesis,
especially those involved in bacterial
multiplication in planta and host specificity,
and to characterize their functions in rice and
Arabidopsis thaliana that lead to bacterial
blight and black rot, respectively. Enlightened
by recent microbial research, we believe genomic
approaches are advantageous to provide the
inventory of candidate virulence factors and the
basis of orderly dissection of the molecular
process underlying bacterial pathogenicity.
Ultimately, we seek to (i) understand the
molecular mechanisms that enable bacteria to
attack plants and to exploit this knowledge for
improved disease management; (ii) develop these
bacterial virulence factors, which presumably
have evolved to exquisitely alter plant gene
expression and metabolism, into new device for