Phase 1 (2005 Deadline)
Understanding and Control of Plant Viral Disease Complexes in Pakistan
Claude M. Fauquet, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Shahid Mansoor, National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering
Pakistani Funding (MoST): $142,000
US Funding: $175,000
Project Dates on US Side: January 1, 2006 - December 15, 2009 (Completed)
Plant viruses are becoming increasingly widespread and virulent in Pakistan, leading to reduced yields for food and fiber crops. This project aimed to enhance the laboratory infrastructure at the National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering and improve the expertise of its researchers in molecular virology techniques to understand and control plant viruses. Specifically, the researchers on the project worked to develop new diagnostic tools such as DNA chip technology for the detection of multiple plant viruses and their recombinants. Through their collaborative efforts, they increased their understanding of host-virus interactions and viral proteins that overcome host defense responses.
- Conducted the first complete molecular survey for begomovirus diversity infecting wild cotton species in Pakistan
- Obtained the complete nucleotide sequences for CLCuD associated components
- Shed new light on the role of alpha satellites that possibly play a role in maintaining infectious molecules at very low levels in reservoir plants
- Hosted two young Pakistani scientists for long-term training on modern genetic techniques
- Prepared four papers for publication in 2009
Progress Report Summaries
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2008 Show summary || Hide summary || Download full report
Dr. Fauquet attended another conference in Pakistan in March 2008, during which he took the opportunity to visit NIBGE for consultations with his colleagues. The researchers reported that this project has produced a wealth of information on the viruses and their satellites that are related to cotton leaf curl virus disease, as well as on the function of some of the viral genes. It is important to note that the cotton leaf curl Burawalia virus (CLCuBuV) and its cognate betasatellite appeared on the newly resistant cotton variety cultivated in Pakistan for the last three years, and this and related viruses are seriously impacting cotton production in the country. However, before the present work, there had been no attempt to find, describe and understand this pool of diversity in reservoir plants. Although the work is not yet at the stage where it could be commercialized, Dr. Fauquet reports that his team’s complete begomovirus survey on different cotton species that are not only grown in Pakistan but also are potential breeding material throughout the world is highly valuable to cotton breeders. This information should be helpful to all cotton breeders who are specifically using these species in developing disease resistant varieties.
This project has also provided an opportunity to train young Pakistani scientists and give them access to new technologies such as rolling circle amplification, which has been extremely important in accessing and cloning a wealth of new viruses and satellites. Dr. Fauquet indicates that he expects that at least four papers to be published as a result of the project, and the first, "Maintenance of an Old World betasatellite by a New World helper begomovirus and possible rapid adaptation of the betasatellite," was published in the Journal of Virology in July 2009. Ultimate the results of this research project will be made available to cotton breeders so that they can incorporate them in their efforts to create improved crop varieties.
2007 Show summary || Hide summary || Download full report
When Dr. M. Shah Nawaz Khan arrived in early February 2007, he brought with him a number of plasmid DNA samples prepared at NIBGE for use in research at the Danforth Center. For this part of the work, he had surveyed fields in central Pakistan, an area that has been severely impacted by geminiviruses over the last two decades. During his survey visits to different fields, he worked in cooperation with experts from cotton-growing areas, including researchers from the Central Cotton Research Institute at Multan. Dr. Khan is expected to complete his research stay in St. Louis in August 2009. Meanwhile, another NIBGE researcher, Imran Amin, arrived at the Danforth Center in late November 2007 to study the interaction of geminiviruses and their encoded genes with developmental miRNA. He completed his visit and returned to Pakistan in September 2008.
2006 Show summary || Hide summary || Download full report
The Pakistani principal investigator, Dr. Shahid Mansoor, reported that the grant allowed him to attract a large number of PhD students and researchers, several of whom were working on project objectives. A young researcher from NIBGE, Dr. M. Shah Nawaz Khan, was to have begun work as a post-doc at the Danforth Center earlier in 2006 but was delayed in completing his PhD, pushing back the anticipated date of his arrival in St. Louis by a few months. U.S. principal investigator Dr. Claude Fauquet traveled to Faisalabad in November 2006 to participate in a training course on molecular virology at NIGBE and meet with Dr. Mansoor to review the project. This training course was funded by other sources, but as it dealt with complementary topics pertaining to viruses and gene silencing, Dr. Fauquet reported that it greatly benefited the project and the students who participated.
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