Expected learning outcomes:
Students should be able to:
1. Recognize the significance of plant pathogy and the diversity of their causing agents
2. Understand infectious disease cycles of plants and the mechanisms of plant host response
3. Understand the role and importance of molecular biology in plant pathogen, plant disease and plant-pathogens interaction research
4. Apply and implement different molecular biology techniques in detection and characterization of plant pathogens
5. Search scientific literature on given scientific topic
6. Analyze and present a scientific work
Course content broken down in detail by weekly class schedule (syllabus):
1. Introduction to plant pathology. The concept of plant disease. The causal agents - fungi, the oomycota, bacteria, viruses, other. The significance of plant diseases. The control of plant diseases. Molecular biology in plant pathology.
2. Fungal and Oomycetes diseases. Pathogenesis of diseases. Establishing of infection. Development of disease. Effectors.
3. Fungal and Oomycetes genetics. Mechanisms for generating genetic variation. Chromosome instability. Horizontal gene transfer. Role of transposable elements. Role of mycoviruses.
4. Bacterial diseases. Pathogenesis. Establishing of infection. Bacterial-bacterial communication - quorum sensing. Penetration to plant hosts.
5. Bacterial diseases - determinants of host specificity. Concept of effector biology - avirulence factors and toxins; elicitors. Type III secretion mechanism. Pathogenicity islands. The role of plasmids.
6. Phytoplasmas and spiroplasmas as plant disease causing agents. Diversity and reductive evolution. Pathogenicity strategies.
7. Plant viruses as plant pathogens. Structure and replication.
8. Plant viruses- movement and interaction with plants.
9. Pathogens effects on plant physiological functions. Effects of environmental factors on development of infection diseases of plant.
10. Resistance mechanisms in plants. Plant immunity. Classical concept of resistance. Preformed resistance. Indiced defences. Gene-to-gene resistance.
11. Signalling in plat disase resistance mechanisms. PAMP- triggered immunity (PTI).. Effector triggered immunity (ETI).
12. Genetics and molecular epidemiology of plant diseases.
13. Molecular dignostics of plant diseases.
14. Application of molecular biology to conventional disease control strategies.
15. Transgenic approaches fro crop protection. Pathogen-derived resistance. Platibodies. Overexpressing defence genes. Expression of vaccines in plants.
Laboratory practicals (exercises):
1. Isolation of total nucleic acid (TNA) and determination of TNA concentration (4 h).
2. Isolation and SDS-PAGE of total proteins (4 h)
3. Multilocus sequence (MLST) analyses -PCR amplification of different pathogen gene regions followed by RFLP and sequencing (6 h).
4. Pathogen detection by real-time PCR (2 h).
5. SSCP analyses for detection of molecular variability (6 h)
6. Southern blot analyses (6 h)
7. Phylogenetic sequence analyses (2 h)
1. Selection of seminar topics from the molecular plant pathology field (2 h)
2. Literature search (6 h)
3. Oral presentation of seminars (7 h)
- Juretić N (2002) Osnove biljne virologije. Školska knjiga, Zagreb
Prescott LM, Harley JP, Klein DA (2002) Microbiology. McGraw-Hill, Boston
- Dickinson M (2003) Molecular Plant Pathology. BIOS Scientific Publishers, London
Agrios GN (2005) Plant Pathology (Fifth Edition). Academic Press, New York
- Wiley J, Sherwood L, Woolverton C (2013) Prescott's Microbiology, 9th edition, McGraw-Hill, Boston
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