Molecular biology of plant virus-host-vector interactions

Group leader: Lesley Torrance

Professor

Research overview

Plant viruses cause major disease epidemics in important food crops and are a major threat to food security in many countries particularly in the developing world.  The predicted warming of the climate caused by environmental change is expected to increase the abundance and geographic range of many insects that spread viruses which in turn may increase the occurrence of virus diseases. Potato is the third largest food crop in the world.  In Scotland, last year, around about 1.3 million tonnes were produced with 76,000 tonnes of seed potatoes exported to over 30 countries (not including to EU countries).  Pests and diseases cause major economic losses by decreased tuber yield and quality, and rejection of exports. 

Viruses are parasites that must take over the host cell’s functions to replicate and produce more virus particles.  My research focuses on potato viruses and the role and function of virus coded proteins in disease processes, investigating mechanisms of host susceptibility and resistance. A particular focus is the durability of host resistance under abiotic stresses and developmental stage.  This work will identify essential host molecules needed for replication and spread and a better understanding of defence processes. The practical outputs of this work will be to inform more effective methods of disease control.   Other research in the lab concerns working with collaborators in Kenya and Malawi to improve seed potato production systems and on virus-host interactions with Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hanghzhou, Zhejiang, P.R. China.

 

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Publications

Torrance, L, Cowan, G, Roberts, AG, Jones, S, Kumar, P, Hemsley, P & Savenkov, E 2018, 'Potato mop-top virus TGB1 co-opts HIPP26 to activate abiotic stress signalling for long distance movement' ICPP 2018, Boston, United States, 30/07/18 - 3/08/18, .
Cowan, GH, Roberts, AG, Jones, S, Kumar, P, Kalyandurg, PB, Gil, JF, Savenkov, EI, Hemsley, PA & Torrance, L 2018, 'Potato mop-top virus co-opts the stress sensor HIPP26 for long-distance movement' Plant Physiology, vol. 176, no. 3, pp. 2052-2070. DOI: 10.1104/pp.17.01698
Trapero-Mozos, A, Morris, WL, Ducreux, LJM, McLean, K, Stephens, J, Torrance, L, Bryan, GJ, Hancock, RD & Taylor, MA 2018, 'Engineering heat tolerance in potato by temperature-dependent expression of a specific allele of HEAT SHOCK COGNATE 70' Plant Biotechnology Journal, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 197-207. DOI: 10.1111/pbi.12760
Michelmore, R, Coaker, G, Bart, R, Beattie, G, Bent, A, Bruce, T, Cameron, D, Dangl, J, Dinesh-Kumar, S, Edwards, R, Eves-van den Akker, S, Gassmann, W, Greenberg, J, Hanley-Bowdoin, L, Harrison, R, He, P, Harvey, J, Huffaker, A, Hulbert, S, Innes, R, Jones, J, Kaloshian, I, Kamoun, S, Katagiri, F, Leach, J, Ma, W, McDowell, J, Medford, J, Meyers, B, Nelson, R, Oliver, R, Qi, Y, Saunders, D, Shaw, M, Smart, C, Subudhi, P, Torrance, L, Tyler, B, Valent, B & Walsh, J 2017, 'Foundational and translational research opportunities to improve plant health' Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, vol. 30, no. 7, pp. 515-516. DOI: 10.1094/MPMI-01-17-0010-CR

Overview

Overview header image

Scientists associated with the thirty-two research groups that are affiliated with the Biomedical Sciences Research Complex perform highly innovative, multi-disciplinary research in eleven broad areas of biomedical research, employing state-of-the-art techniques to address key questions at the leading edge of the biomedical and biological sciences. The BSRC is grateful for funding from all funding agencies including the Institutional Strategic Support Fund from the Wellcome Trust.

Follow the links on the left to view individual research groups associated with one or more of the eleven BSRC research areas.

Research areas

Scientists associated with the thirty-two research groups that are affiliated with the Biomedical Sciences Research Complex perform highly innovative, multi-disciplinary research in eleven broad areas of biomedical research, employing state-of-the-art techniques to address key questions at the leading edge of the biomedical and biological sciences.

Follow the links on the left to view individual research groups associated with one or more of the eleven BSRC research areas.

Research by academic schools

Research in the BSRC is conducted by thirty-two independent research groups based in the Schools of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, and Medicine. Follow the links on the left to view groups associated with each school.