Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-2019

Faculty Advisor(s)

Hagop Atamian


Fusarium Euwallacea is a fungus that has established symbiotic relationship with the beetle Euwallacea aff. fornicata. The beetle bores through the tree bark and into the sapwood making long tunnels inside the trees. The beetle carries the F. Euwallacea in a specialized structure on its body called mandibular mycangia and cultivates the fungus in the tunnels on which the beetle feeds to grow and reproduce. The growth of the fungus obstructs water and mineral transport in the plant xylem tissue, resulting in dieback, wilt and mortality of the host tree. Fungi are known to secrete proteins called effectors in the plant cells to suppress plant immune responses and create a favorable environment for growth and reproduction.The beetle and the fungus attack more than 200 plant species. The dieback disease caused by this beetle-fungus complex is emerging as a serious threat to the Southern California’s landscape tree species as well as agricultural crops such as avocado, citrus, and olive. The goal of this project is to computationally predict and annotate the candidate effectors secreted by F. Euwallacea. Identifying the collection of effectors secreted by this fungus will give an overall insight regarding the possible mechanisms that F. Euwallacea uses to flourish in the tunnels made by the beetle. Our results show that F. Euwallacea contains 1342 candidate effectors. Currently we are conducting comparative analysis among the related fungal species as well as gene structure analysis to assign functions to the different effectors identified in F. Euwallacea. The results from this project will be experimentally tested in the future by mutating the effectors in the fungus and assaying the propagation of the fungus in the tunnels made by the beetle. This will help us better understand the infection process which could help us device new effective strategies to combat this devastating pathogen.


Presented at the Spring 2019 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.

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