Research in the Wise laboratory is focused on the high-throughput functional analysis of important agronomic genes in cereal crops. We use a variety of interdisciplinary approaches, including plant and microbial genetics, molecular biology, plant pathology, and bioinformatics & computational biology.
Plant diseases are among the greatest deterrents to crop production worldwide. Historically, cereal crops have laid the foundation for numerous classical genetic studies in host-pathogen interactions, resulting in many model biological systems. We have focused on the well-characterized, barley-powdery mildew pathosystem as our entry point to address fundamental questions regarding host resistance. In this system, resistance to the obligate biotroph, Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei, is governed by gene-for-gene-specified interactions of barley Ml (Mildew resistance locus) genes and cognate powdery mildew avirulence (Avr) genes. (Wei et al. 1999; Halterman et al. 2001; Zhou et al. 2001; Wei et al. 2002; Halterman et al. 2003; Halterman and Wise 2004; Halterman and Wise 2006).
Bioinformatics and Agricultural Genomics:
In the area of molecular plant - microbe interactions, small RNA and mRNA transcript profiling, proteomics, and protein-protein inteactions have provided unparalleled perception into the mechanisms underlying gene-for-gene resistance and basal defense, host vs. non-host resistance, or biotrophy vs. necrotrophy.
Historically, we used the Affymetrix Barley1 GeneChip genome array for large-scale genetical genomics and parallel expression profiling (Caldo et al. 2004; Eckardt 2004). The Barley1 GeneChip includes 22,792 probe sets derived from 350,000 high-quality ESTs from 84 cDNA libraries, in addition to 1,145 barley gene sequences from the NCBI non-redundant database (Close et al. 2004).
We have now moved into smallRNA and mRNA-Seq, proteomics, and genome-wide yeast two hybrid interactions to provide the data sets necessary for genome-wide dissection of host-pathogen interaction networks.