Deciphering the role of microRNAs during pathogen attack: new concepts for disease resistance in plants (2014–2016)
Small non-coding RNAs called 'microRNAs' regulate diverse pathways in plants including plant defence against pathogens. In this study, we will investigate the roles of plant microRNAs in response to four economically important viruses and compare these to a bacterial and a fungal pathogen. The aim is to dissect the underlying molecular mechanism of microRNA-based gene regulation during pathogen infection and specifically identify common microRNAs which have evident impact during virus attack. This study is crucial due to its focus on virus diseases that cause severe damage to many crop plants; a global issue with strong implications for food security. This project is expected to provide basic new concepts for disease resistance in plants.