Jeanmarie Verchot Ph, D., Professor
Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology
Special Assistant to Vice Chancellor
Lab phone: 979-845-3282
Lab Number: 129
Dr Verchot’s active research has two main topics involving molecular and cellular biology focusing on virus-host interactions in plant biology. The first involves studying the essential role of the endoplasmic reticulum for virus infection. We study the cell’s adaptive machineries for surviving the impacts of virus infection. This research uses potyviruses and potexviruses infecting Arabidopsis and potato. The ER is a scaffold for virus replication and intercellular movement machineries but also engages in ER to nucleus signaling in response to infection. Our research has unlocked new information about the role of cellular chaperones and ER-bound transcription factors in sensing viral proteins and responding to down regulate infections. Over the past decade Dr Verchot’s team has described a signaling network led by IRE and bZIP60 transcription factor that responds to specific virus elicitor proteins to regulate signaling pathways that control protein folding in the ER, autophagy and programmed cell death. We have begun to identify critical factors in potato that respond to virus infection and can complement genetic mutations in Arabidopsis and yeast. We are also developing gene editing technology in potato to block attacking viruses.
A second program focuses on Rose Rosette Virus (RRV) which is a member of the Emaravirus genus within the family Bunyaviridae. This work has produced an infectious clone of this 7-segment negative strand RNA virus genome, which over expresses GFP and infects Arabidopsis, Nicotiana benthamiana, and roses. This is the first multi-component infectious clone of a negative strand RNA virus infecting plants. This new project examines transcriptional responses to virus infection and examines the plant signaling events that control changes in plant growth in response to virus infection.
Through 20 years of research Dr Verchot has worked on many important research topics including plasmodesmata and vascular transport of plant viruses, silencing suppressor proteins, soilborne viruses, fungal vector interactions with viruses. She has worked also on viruses of ornamental, wheat, and potato crops.