Scientific Disciplinary Sector (SSD)
AGR/12 - PLANT PATHOLOGY
The teaching is organized as follows:
With the course of Phytopathological Biotechnologies, the student will acquire the following competences:
1. Describe the main phytopathogenic microorganisms
2. Define the concepts of infection, disease, resistance, pathogenicity, virulence and related arguments
3. Deep knowledge regarding the plant-pathogen interaction:
3a. Molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity and virulence
3b. Physiopathological alterations associated with the infectious process, focusing on signals and mechanisms of plant resistance against phytopathogens.
4. Define the concept of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) with the description of the main methods employed in plant protection.
5. Recognize the main symptoms of some plant diseases presented during the course and their associated microorganisms.
6. Define and apply biotechnological approaches for the improvement of plant resistance against phytopathogens.
The course will deal with the following themes: 1. General concepts on plant disease 2. Description of the main pathogen agents (fungi, bacteria, phytoplasms, viruses and viroids) with symptom analysis and description: - phytopathogenic fungi and pseudo-fungi: detailed cycle of Plasmopara viticola, Erysiphe necator, Botrytis cinerea, Puccinia graminis. - phytopathogenic bacteria: detailed cycle of Erwinia amylovora, Pseudomonas syringae e Agrobacterium tumefaciens. - phytopathogenic viruses: basic knowledge of the replication process, gene expression, assembly, movement of viral particles in infected plants. Detailed examples: Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV), Potato Virus Y (PVY). Viral transmission through vectors. Virus satellite and RNA satellites. The use of viruses as expression vectors. - phytoplasms: basic knowledge and virulence factors. 3. Molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity and virulence of phytopathogenic microorganisms: - pathogenicity factors: description, function, regulation - virulence factors: description, function, regulation - function of Hrp and Avr genes. 4. Plant-pathogen interaction -molecular bases of host specificity: non-host resistance and race-specific resistance -plant-pathogen recognition: the elicitor-receptor model, the guard model, the decoy model 5. Plant resistance against diseases -structure, function and evolution of resistance genes in plants -defense signal transduction in plant resistance -mechanisms of resistance expression and regulation -the defense responses: morpho-structural mechanisms, antimicrobial compound synthesis, the hypersensitive cell death (HR) - post-transcriptional gene silencing as resistance mechanism against viral pathogens - the systemic resistances: signals and molecular mechanisms governing the systemic acquired resistance (SAR), the induced systemic resistance (ISR) and the systemic response to wounding. 6. Biotechnological applications for resistant plant production: transgenic expression of genes from other plants, other organisms or pathogenic agents (pathogen-derived resistance). Practical courses Advanced diagnostic tests applied to phytopathology Production of a hypersensitive reaction Evaluation of bacterial virulence with the use of genetically modified microorganisms Methods for the evaluation and characterization of plant resistance Reference texts -Plant Pathology, Agrios -Fondamenti di Patologia Vegetale, edizione 2017, Pàtron Editore -Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants, Buchanan -Elementi di virologia vegetale, Piccin -Plant Pathology and Plant Diseases, CABI Additional teaching material -Slides of the course (provided later at the end of the lecture) -Scientific articles (references cited during the lectures)
Practical courses: Advanced diagnostic tests applied to phytopathology Production of a hypersensitive reaction Evaluation of bacterial virulence with the use of genetically modified microorganisms Methods for the evaluation and characterization of plant resistance
The exam will include two parts: 1. Oral presentation of a scientific article in front of the class. The article is chosen by the students among a list proposed by the teacher or autonomously (approved by the teacher). The articles deal with arguments related to phytopathology themes addressed during the course. Evaluation criteria include the general understanding of the paper, the argument deepening for a proper description of the concept of the presented work (correlated bibliographic research), language skills and capacity to discuss in a critical manner. 2. Written exam with open questions. The aim of this exam is to ascertain that formative objectives described above have been reached. In particular, the following points will be taken into consideration: -the degree of knowledge on the subject; -the language skills related to the subject. The final vote will be attributed considering one third for the article presentation and two thirds for the written exam. Each student will receive a unique final vote including the result of both exam parts. The exam will be the same for all students, independently of their presence to the course.
unique exam (cf theory)