Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Neha Jag Rose Hills

Discovering Genetic Interactors of A Nuclear Transport Receptor KA120

Up to 40% of annual crop yields are lost to plant pathogens, costing the global economy upwards of $220 billion dollars yearly and exacerbating our global food crisis. Crucial proteins in the plant immune system are Nucleotide Binding Leucine Rich Repeat receptor proteins (NLRs,) which detect pathogenic secretions and trigger immune responses. To prevent autoimmunity, NLR’s are tightly regulated, however many key details of their function in immune signaling pathways remain undiscovered. The Gu Lab at UC Berkeley has recently identified a nuclear transport protein, KA120, that negatively regulates plant immune signaling by controlling the intracellular locations of NLRs, thereby regulating their activity. 

The goal of my research project is to identify genetic interactors of KA120. By identifying proteins acting in KA120’s signaling pathway, I will reveal novel mechanisms of immune regulation in plant tissue that will inform future research in building crop resistance against pathogens and other environmental stressors. I will achieve this by creating a mutant library in Arabidopsis thaliana, screening mutants for autoimmune repressors, and resequencing their genomes to determine causal genes.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to give a huge thank you to the donors who have made this summer research possible! I truly appreciate your kindness and generosity in funding this priceless opportunity.
Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology
Mentor: Yangnan Gu
Sponsor: SURF Rose Hills
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