Phillip Key

Date of Award


Degree Type



Biological Sciences

Director of Thesis

Zheng Fu Ph.D.

First Reader

Jian Chen Ph.D.

Second Reader

Jian Chen Ph.D.


Plant pathogens remain a significant threat to the stability of modern agricultural systems, and the investigation of mechanisms to improve the security of food resources has led to the partial characterization of plant immune response. With this progress, there is a newfound ability to analyze the relative pathogen resistance capability of specifically modified organisms, and in doing so, it is possible to identify individual alterations that might play a role in creating a more robust immune response. In this study, ten Arabidopsis thaliana mutants were infiltrated with Pseudomonas syringae pv. morsprunorum alongside positive and negative control Col-0 Wild-Type and npr1-2. The infiltrated mutant varieties that showed resistance to the development of infection by the pathogen were then analyzed for their the NPR1 protein content and concentration of PR1 mRNA. The results of both studies provided evidence that the suvh456 and sir2-1 mutants had a more effective immune response than the positive control Wild-Type variety, which supported the indication of pathogen resistance noted by the infiltration assay. These proteins have epigenetic influence over gene expression, and can be said to be acting as negative regulators of Arabidopsis immune defense.

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© 2017, Phillip Key