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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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The goals of the Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology are to conduct research on the basic biology of plant pathogens and microbes, to develop methods for the management of microbial diseases of plants and other organisms, to provide a quality education to our students; and be a repository of expert advice on plant diseases and microbiology to the citizens of California and the world.

Our department has its roots in the Citrus Experiment Station, which was established in Riverside in 1905. Our department is also the basis of the International Organization of Citrus Virologists (IOCV). IOCV was formed during the first international conference on citrus virus diseases held at Riverside in 1957. Although the department has maintained strength in the study of diseases of citrus, the scope has expanded to include concentrations in numerous other plant diseases as well as many sub-disciplines of microbiology. Represented among our faculty are experts in the fields of genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, ecology, evolutionary biology, and traditional aspects of disease control. Many faculty members have close interactions with industry representatives, advisors, and policy makers throughout California and worldwide. This is critical to applied research for identifying emerging and common plant diseases and microbes, and developing innovative management programs based on ecological and epidemiological approaches.

We invite you to explore the research programs of our world-class faculty, our critical work in cooperative extension, and the graduate and undergraduate programs that we sponsor.

Microbiology and Plant Pathology

There are 1365 publications in this collection, published between 1957 and 2019.
Recent Work (103)

Microbial associates of the southern mole cricket (Scapteriscus borellii) are highly pathogenic

We report the isolation and identification of seven bacterial strains and one fungal strain from dead and diseased Scapteriscus borellii mole crickets collected from a golf course in southern California. Using 16S and 18S rRNA gene sequence analysis we identified the microbes as Serratia marcescens (red), S. marcescens (white), S. marcescens (purple), Achromobacter xylosoxidans, Chryseobacterium sp., Ochrobactrum anthropi, Tsukamurella tryosinosolvens, and Beauveria bassiana. We performed a dose response curve for each of these cricket-associated microbial strains (except T. tryosinosolvens) and two other strains of S. marcescens (DB1140 and ATCC 13880). We found that all of these microbes except O. anthropi were highly pathogenic to D. melanogaster compared to the other strains of S. marcescens. Injecting the mole cricket associated strains of Serratia into flies killed all infected flies in ≤24h. For all other strains, the median time to death of injected flies varied in a dose-dependent manner. In vivo growth assessments of these microbes suggested that the host immune system was quickly overcome. We used disease tolerance curves to better understand the host-microbe interactions. Further studies are necessary to understand in mechanistic detail the virulence mechanisms of these mole cricket associated microbes and how this association may have influenced the evolution of mole cricket immunity.

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A phylum-level phylogenetic classification of zygomycete fungi based on genome-scale data

© 2016 by The Mycological Society of America, Lawrence, KS 66044-8897. Zygomycete fungi were classified as a single phylum, Zygomycota, based on sexual reproduction by zygospores, frequent asexual reproduction by sporangia, absence of multicellular sporocarps, and production of coenocytic hyphae, all with some exceptions. Molecular phylogenies based on one or a few genes did not support themonophyly of the phylum, however, and the phylum was subsequently abandoned. Here we present phylogenetic analyses of a genome-scale data set for 46 taxa, including 25 zygomycetes and 192 proteins, and we demonstrate that zygomycetes comprise two major clades that form a paraphyletic grade. A formal phylogenetic classification is proposed herein and includes two phyla, six subphyla, four classes and 16 orders. On the basis of these results, the phyla Mucoromycota and Zoopagomycota are circumscribed. Zoopagomycota comprises Entomophtoromycotina, Kickxellomycotina and Zoopagomycotina; it constitutes the earliest diverging lineage of zygomycetes and contains species that are primarily parasites and pathogens of small animals (e.g. amoeba, insects, etc.) and other fungi, i.e. mycoparasites. Mucoromycota comprises Glomeromycotina, Mortierellomycotina, and Mucoromycotina and is sister to Dikarya. It is the more derived clade of zygomycetes and mainly consists of mycorrhizal fungi, root endophytes, and decomposers of plant material. Evolution of trophic modes, morphology, and analysis of genome-scale data are discussed.

Analysis of the Candida albicans phosphoproteome

© 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved. Candida albicans is an important human fungal pathogen in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised individuals. C. albicans regulation has been studied in many contexts, including morphological transitions, mating competence, biofilm formation, stress resistance, and cell wall synthesis. Analysis of kinase- and phosphatase-deficient mutants has made it clear that protein phosphorylation plays an important role in the regulation of these pathways. In this study, to further our understanding of phosphorylation in C. albicans regulation, we performed a deep analysis of the phosphoproteome in C. albicans. We identified 19,590 unique peptides that corresponded to 15,906 unique phosphosites on 2,896 proteins. The ratios of serine, threonine, and tyrosine phosphosites were 80.01%, 18.11%, and 1.81%, respectively. The majority of proteins (2,111) contained at least two detected phosphorylation sites. Consistent with findings in other fungi, cytoskeletal proteins were among the most highly phosphorylated proteins, and there were differences in Gene Ontology (GO) terms for proteins with serine and threonine versus tyrosine phosphorylation sites. This large-scale analysis identified phosphosites in protein components of Mediator, an important transcriptional coregulatory protein complex. A targeted analysis of the phosphosites in Mediator complex proteins confirmed the large-scale studies, and further in vitro assays identified a subset of these phosphorylations that were catalyzed by Cdk8 (Ssn3), a kinase within the Mediator complex. These data represent the deepest single analysis of a fungal phosphoproteome and lay the groundwork for future analyses of the C. albicans phosphoproteome and specific phosphoproteins.

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