Welcome to the Banfield Lab
The research in my Laboratory seeks to understand the molecular basis of the dialogue between plant pathogens and their hosts that occurs during adhesion, colonisation and infection.
We are particularly interested in defining the mechanisms of action of host-translocated effector proteins. What do these proteins interact with in the host? What is the nature of this interaction at the molecular level? What is the outcome of the interaction? How does this interaction and/or activity benefit the pathogen?
We are also interested in understanding how the plant innate immune system responds to the presence and/or activities of host-translocated effector proteins. To this end we study intracellular plant immune receptors (frequently encoded by R-genes encoding NLR family proteins). We are especially interested in how effector proteins are sensed by these proteins and how this initiates signal transduction events that activate immunity-related pathways.
Through an in-depth biochemical, biophysical and structural appreciation of effector activity, how effector targets are perturbed by these proteins, and how plant NLRs work we aim to develop molecular approaches to engineer novel disease resistance in crops.
We also have a research programme to investigate the molecular basis of host cell adhesion mediated by internal thioester bonds, highly unusual protein cross-links we discovered in pili from gram-positive pathogens of mammals.
Many projects benefit from close links with colleagues at The Sainsbury Laboratory.
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The Laboratory has received funding (either current or past) from: