When a plant is attacked by fungal pathogens, it overproduces hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) thereby killing cells directly challenged by the pathogen. One protein that blocks accumulation in healthy cells is catalase. This enzyme breaks down 2H2O2 into 2H2O and O2. The accumulation of H2O2 and fungal pathogen resistance is controlled through transcriptional regulation of catalase. Our lab has attempted to clone the plant catalase gene. By Northern blots, we attempted to determine the orientation of the putative catalase gene in our cloning vector. Results from our Northern blot analysis indicated that our clone was probably rDNA and not catalase.
The second part of my project was to obtain a restriction map of the vector pAS 2023. This vector will be used to add additional copies of catalase to plant cells to test our hypothesis that catalase regulates plant resistance. We found no Kpn I or Sac I sites, and that there was only one Sal I site in the vector.
The third part of the research was to grow and maintain plant cells to someday transfer the vector into. In sterile conditions, plant callous (plant stem cells) has been successfully grown and maintained on a gelatinous plate, as well as in liquid suspension.
Amber Bain, ’02 Cedar Rapids, IA
Sponsor: Craig Tepper