Samantha Trinh

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Bacteria cannot directly penetrate the epidermis of a plant, so they rely on stomatal pores to enter the leaves. These surface openings play an important role in limiting bacterial invasion. The guard cells that form the stomatal pore can sense bacterial molecules, such as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and close the stomata by changing the turgor pressure of the guard cells. In this study, we are using a genetic approach to identify genes that are involved in stomatal immunity. The bacterium pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato strain DC3118 has been shown to induce strong stomatal closure in the wild type Arabidopsis plant Col-0. Using a collection of homozygous T-DNA insertion lines that represent mutations in 10,848 different genes of Arabidopsis, we are screening plants for high leaf surface temperature after inoculation (i.e. indicative of closed stomata) using an infrared camera (Flir System T300). Plants with mutations in genes involved in bacterium-triggered stomatal closure should have leaves hotter than the Col-0 wild type plant. To date, we have screened 1,117 mutant plants and selected 77 lines for further investigation. This screen will further our current understanding of the genetic regulation of stomatal immunity and provide insights for additional and/or complementary control measures to alleviate plant diseases in the field. Furthermore, stomatal immunity may be an important mechanism to prevent fresh produce contamination with human pathogens, thus benefiting human health.

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