Master's degree in Agri-Food Biotechnology

Master's degree in Agri-Food Biotechnology

Phytopathological biotechnology (2019/2020)

Course code
4S00700
Credits
6
Coordinator
Elodie Genevieve Germaine Vandelle
Academic sector
AGR/12 - PLANT PATHOLOGY
Language of instruction
Italian

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Teaching is organised as follows:
Activity Credits Period Academic staff
teoria 5 I semestre Elodie Genevieve Germaine Vandelle
laboratorio 1 I semestre Elodie Genevieve Germaine Vandelle

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Learning outcomes

The course will provide an overview of issues related to plant disease control, with a brief introduction to biology and epidemiology of major plant pathogens and the main methods of diagnosis and control.
Special attention will be devoted to a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms of patho-genicity and host-pathogen interactions, with particular reference to the resistance of plants to patho-gens and related biotechnological applications.

Syllabus

The course will deal with the following themes:

1. General concepts on plant disease
2. Description of the main pathogen agents (fungi, bacteria, phytoplasms, viruses and viroids) with symptom analysis and description:
- phytopathogenic fungi and pseudo-fungi: detailed cycle of Plasmopara viticola, Erysiphe necator, Botrytis cinerea, Puccinia graminis.
- phytopathogenic bacteria: detailed cycle of Erwinia amylovora, Pseudomonas syringae e Agrobacterium tumefaciens.
- phytopathogenic viruses: basic knowledge of the replication process, gene expression, assembly, movement of viral particles in infected plants. Detailed examples: Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV), Potato Virus Y (PVY). Viral transmission through vectors. Virus satellite and RNA satellites. The use of viruses as expression vectors.
- phytoplasms: basic knowledge and virulence factors.

3. Molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity and virulence of phytopathogenic microorganisms:
- pathogenicity factors: description, function, regulation
- virulence factors: description, function, regulation
- function of Hrp and Avr genes.

4. Plant-pathogen interaction
-molecular bases of host specificity: non-host resistance and race-specific resistance
-plant-pathogen recognition: the elicitor-receptor model, the guard model, the decoy model


5. Plant resistance against diseases
-structure, function and evolution of resistance genes in plants
-defense signal transduction in plant resistance
-mechanisms of resistance expression and regulation
-the defense responses: morpho-structural mechanisms, antimicrobial compound synthesis, the hypersensitive cell death (HR)
- post-transcriptional gene silencing as resistance mechanism against viral pathogens
- the systemic resistances: signals and molecular mechanisms governing the systemic acquired resistance (SAR), the induced systemic resistance (ISR) and the systemic response to wounding.

6. Biotechnological applications for resistant plant production: transgenic expression of genes from other plants, other organisms or pathogenic agents (pathogen-derived resistance).

Practical courses
Advanced diagnostic tests applied to phytopathology
Production of a hypersensitive reaction
Evaluation of bacterial virulence with the use of genetically modified microorganisms
Methods for the evaluation and characterization of plant resistance


Reference texts
-Plant Pathology, Agrios
-Fondamenti di Patologia Vegetale, edizione 2017, Pàtron Editore
-Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants, Buchanan
-Elementi di virologia vegetale, Piccin

Additional teaching material
-Slides of the course (provided at the end of the lecture)
-Scientific articles (references cited during the lectures)

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam will include two parts:

1. Oral presentation of a scientific article (groups of 2 persons) in front of the class. The article is chosen by the students among a list proposed by the teacher or autonomously (approved by the teacher). The articles deal with arguments related to phytopathology themes addressed during the course. Evaluation criteria include the general understanding of the paper, the argument deepening for a proper description of the concept of the presented work (correlated bibliographic research), language skills and capacity to discuss in a critical manner.

2. Written exam with open questions. The aim of this exam is to ascertain that formative objectives described above have been reached. In particular, the following points will be taken into consideration:
-the degree of knowledge on the subject;
-the language skills related to the subject.

The final vote will be attributed considering one third for the article presentation and two thirds for the written exam. Each student will receive a unique final vote including the result of both exam parts.

The exam will be the same for all students, independently of their presence to the course.

Reference books
Activity Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
teoria B.B. Buchanan, W. Gruissem & R.L. Jones Biochemistry & Molecular Biology of Plants American Society of Plant Physiology 2000 0-943088
teoria Belli Giuseppe Elementi di Patologia vegetale Piccin-Nuova Libraria 2015
teoria Alberto Matta, Roberto Buonaurio, Aniello Scala ondamenti di patologia vegetale Pàtron 2017 8855533827
teoria Agrios G.N. Plant Pathology (Edizione 4) Harcourt Academic Press 1997 0120445646
laboratorio B.B. Buchanan, W. Gruissem & R.L. Jones Biochemistry & Molecular Biology of Plants American Society of Plant Physiology 2000 0-943088
laboratorio Belli Giuseppe Elementi di Patologia vegetale Piccin-Nuova Libraria 2015
laboratorio Alberto Matta, Roberto Buonaurio, Aniello Scala ondamenti di patologia vegetale Pàtron 2017 8855533827
laboratorio Agrios G.N. Plant Pathology (Edizione 4) Harcourt Academic Press 1997 0120445646




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