|Title of Project|
|Biofilm formation in Zymoseptoria tritici|
|This project going to be…|
|Full Name of Supervisor|
|Helen Fones (Eyles)|
|Institution Department and Address|
Exeter, Streatham Campus, DEVON EX4 4QD
|UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship|
|Full name of the day to day supervisor and/or arrangements for supervision|
|The day to day supervisor will be me (Dr Helen Fones).
Support will also be given to the student by my Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Dr Graham Thomas, and my Research Technician, Dr Andrea Kovacs-Simon. Between us, we will be able to ensure that the student can access help and advice at any time in the working day/week.
|Date of Project Commencement|
|Brief Description of Project|
|This project will follow the work of a previous project student, looking into biofilm formation on leaf surfaces by the wheat pathogen, Zymoseptoria tritici. This fungus causes very significant yield losses and fungicide costs for temperate grown wheat. Previous findings in the Fones lab indicate that Zt spends extended periods on the leaf surface prior to and during infection. This epiphytic growth is subject to abiotic stresses such as UV exposure, drying, fungicide application and varying temperatures.
Biofilms are primarily known in bacteria and yeasts. They are formed when these microbes attach to a substrate and produce an extracellular matrix (ECM) in which the cells are embedded. Biofilm production leads to improved stress tolerance and can be importance in anti-microbial resistance.
Zt has a yeast-like growth form. While infection is dependent upon the switch to hyphal growth on the leaf surface, there can be extensive yeast-like proliferation on the leaf surface as well, and these yeast-like cells are able to produce infective hyphae. Previous work suggests that Zt yeast-like cells are able to produce ECM and may form a structure similar to other known biofilms.
In this project, you will explore the factors that promote biofilm formation and the characteristics of the biofilm, including morphology, cell type, and stress resistance. You will also carry out preliminary experiments to determine whether Zt isolates differ in biofilm formation capacity and whether this correlates to the success of infection under abiotic stress.
|Attach the recommended reading for the project|
|Fones, H., & Gurr, S. (2015). The impact of Septoria tritici Blotch disease on wheat: An EU perspective. Fungal genetics and biology, 79, 3-7.
Haueisen, J., Möller, M., Eschenbrenner, C. J., Grandaubert, J., Seybold, H., Adamiak, H., & Stukenbrock, E. H. (2017). Extremely flexible infection programs in a fungal plant pathogen. bioRxiv, 229997.
Fones, H. N., Eyles, C. J., Kay, W., Cowper, J., & Gurr, S. J. (2017). A role for random, humidity-dependent epiphytic growth prior to invasion of wheat by Zymoseptoria tritici. Fungal Genetics and Biology, 106, 51-60.
Ten Cate, J. M., Klis, F. M., Pereira-Cenci, T., Crielaard, W., & De Groot, P. W. J. (2009). Molecular and cellular mechanisms that lead to Candida biofilm formation. Journal of dental research, 88(2), 105-115.
Abdallah, M., Benoliel, C., Drider, D., Dhulster, P., & Chihib, N. E. (2014). Biofilm formation and persistence on abiotic surfaces in the context of food and medical environments. Archives of microbiology, 196(7), 453-472.