Event Detail

Event Type: 
Mathematical Biology Seminar
Wednesday, April 27, 2016 - 12:00 to 13:00
GILK 115

Speaker Info

Oregon State University

Members of the Agrobacterium group of bacteria can cause crown gall disease to
plants. This disease is associated with the formation of tumors, which can have fitness
costs to young plants as well as economic costs to plant growers. The ability of
agrobacteria to cause crown gall is entirely dependent on the presence of a conjugative
Ti plasmid. Briefly, a section of the Ti plasmid is transferred to genetically modify the plant
cell. Genes encoded in the transferred section lead to dysregulation of plant hormone
signaling and the production of a novel carbon/nitrogen source. The motivation of the
work to be presented is to develop a framework for a population study of gall causing
pathogens. To this end, we determined the genome sequences for ~160 isolates of crown
gall associated agrobacteria. We used genes encoded on the chromosome as well as the
Ti plasmid to construct phylogenies. Our results are consistent with previous reports that
agrobacteria represent multiple species. In contrast to previous results suggesting the Ti
plasmid is a highly recombinogenic replicon that challenges methods for classification,
our data suggest the Ti plasmids are structured into discrete genetic units that show a
degree of specificity to the bacterial genotype and the host plant. In addition to presenting
these results, I will also introduce next generation sequencing, briefly introduce the
methods we used in generating the data, and attempt to highlight biological questions
that could be advanced in collaboration with experts in mathematical biology. My intent is
to establish an environment that promotes exchange of ideas and questions.