Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Luyang Zhang Rose Hills

Deaminase Expression and Activity in Plants

Plants defend themselves against disease using germline-encoded innate immune receptors. Even so, pathogens are particularly challenging in that they often reproduce more rapidly than plants and tend to accumulate mutations that drive their evolution and diversification at an elevated pace. This accelerated evolutionary process necessitates the development of equally dynamic plant mechanisms of pathogen recognition.

Deaminases are enzymes that remove amine groups from their nucleotide substrates. Existing literature indicates that certain classes of deaminases are capable of creating cytosine to uracil point mutations in DNA that contribute to bacterial and vertebrate immune response. We propose that the mutator activity of deaminases promotes immune receptor diversity in plants, and seek to assess its role in the plant immune response as a proof-of-concept.

Message To Sponsor

I am incredibly grateful for your generous support of my research in plant immunity. Your contribution allows me to explore essential (and fascinating!) questions about plant immune mechanisms in engineering crop resilience. Thank you again for your enthusiasm for my research and investment in my education.
Major: Microbial Biology
Mentor: Ksenia Krasileva
Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
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