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This was the twelfth annual OMGN meeting and the first one outside the US and Europe, and it would also be the first one where I would be speaking. Having attended a previous OMGN meeting in Toulouse I knew the meeting had huge potential. Main topics would of course include identification of effectors (molecules secreted by the oomycete pathogen that modify the host) and the translocation of effectors into the plant host. The goal of the meeting really is to show the state of the art in the field in a fairly informal setting.
On the first day, the organising committee had invited three keynote speakers to put ‘our’ Oomycete stories in a broader perspective. Dr. Kasturi Haldar (University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA) showed the similarities between translocation motifs in Oomycete effectors and malaria parasite plasmodium. Jianmin Zhou (China Agricultural University) linked Oomycete effectors to bacterial type III effectors, explaining the advantages of T3S and the role of one effector in flg22 induced phosphorylation and Youliang Peng (Chinese Agricultural University) brought in fungal effectoromics.
The rest of the meeting was divided in different sessions, including ‘Effectors’ ‘Genomics’ and ‘Plant immunity’ all with outstanding speakers from all layers of the oomycete community, PI’s and PhD students alike. A lot was said about possible functionality RxLRs effectors and there was (of course) discussion about translocation mechanisms of these RxLR effectors (for which it was very nice to have Kasturi Haldar in the audience), but there are still no real answers there. An interesting upcoming field within the oomycete community appears to be RNA silencing and the effect on virulence, Dr. Wenbo Ma (UC Davis, California, USA) showed examples of how Phytophthora Silencing Repressors enhance virulence.
Finally a number of talks showed nice progress regarding cell biology. Localisation of effectors is getting increasingly better and Kai Tao (Nanjing Agricultural University, China) showed beautiful images of Phytophthora sojae haustoria. The community is also benefitting from more and more sequencing data becoming available, as the meeting reported updates for the genomes of a number of oomycete species. And of course new data on population genetics and oomycetes in the fields was presented. Even though the meeting was relatively short, the three days were so packed with scientific content that I cannot possibly list all science reported. For more details on scientific content, I’d like to refer to the Scoop. it website of Dr. Sophien Kamoun, who provided all researchers that could not attend with live updates on all the talks during the meeting.
I like to conclude with saying that meeting was very successful. I am very grateful to the Company of Biologists and BSPP for supporting me financially to attend the meeting and of course the organisers for allowing me to give a presentation and share my research with the community. My presentation went very well and I had some nice discuss ions with other people afterwards. The whole meeting provided me with a lot of inspiration for the remainder of my PhD and I surely hope to see more exciting oomycete research in the coming years
University of Dundee and James Hutton Institute