Investigation of a novel phytohormone biosynthetic pathway in Xanthomonas

Sarah Barry (primary)
King's College London
Rachael Dickman (secondary)
School of Pharmacy


Food security is an area of growing global concern and challenge. Climate change is creating new challenges and emerging pathogens. Bacterial plant pathogens infect many economically important crops including staples such as rice and wheat, resulting in huge losses which disproportionately affect developing countries. Improving crop yield must also be done sustainably to reduce the agrochemical load in the environment. To achieve this, improved understanding of plant-pathogen interactions is required. Bacterial pathogens biosynthesise small molecule virulence factors to aid infection. This includes the production of plant hormones to enable pathogen to disrupt the plant immune response. Through genome mining, we have identified the potential of bacterial plant pathogens to produce a previously unidentified plant hormone. Using a multidisciplinary approach we aim to characterize this peptide and determine its role in virulence.


1)Ryan, R. P. et al. (2011) Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 9, 344-355.
2)Kazan, K., Lyons, R. (2014) Plant Cell. 26, 2285-2309.
3)Chagas, F. O. et al (2018) Chem. Soc. Rev. 47,1652-1704.
4)Igarashi, D. et al (2012) Plant J. 71, 194-204.
5)Stone, M. J. et al (2015) Acc. Chem. Res. 48, 2251–2261

Plants, microbes, food and sustainability
Area of Biology
Chemical BiologyMicrobiologyStructural Biology
Techniques & Approaches
BiochemistryBioinformaticsBiophysicsChemistryMolecular Biology