Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type

Chapman access only poster or presentation

Publication Date

Spring 5-2020

Faculty Advisor(s)

Hagop Atamian


Being sessile organisms, plants rely on very sophisticated defense mechanisms to survive the constant challenges in nature. These include physical and chemical defenses in addition to complex immune responses. Defensin-like genes (DEFLs) are a family of small (45-55 amino acid) cysteine-rich peptides that play important roles in plant immune responses against bacteria, fungi, insects, and viruses. Salvia hispanica, commonly known as chia, belongs to the mint family (Lameaceae). Not much is known about the immunity-related genes and their evolution in chia plants. The objective of this project is to identify and characterize the DEFLs in chia. Using Hidden Markov Models(HMMs) and signal peptide prediction programs, we found 265 putative chia DEFLs. We constructed phylogenetic trees using the Maximum Likelihood (ML) approach to identify the phylogenetic relationships of putative chia DEFLs with DEFLs from other species. In addition, we analyzed the expression of chia DEFLs in response to bacterial attack. The results from this project will represent the first comprehensive analysis of this important and diverse gene family in Salvia hispanica.


Presented at the Spring 2020 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.

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