William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor
Geminiviruses are a large family of plant viruses with circular, single-stranded DNA genomes that replicate through double-stranded intermediates. Because of their limited coding capacity, geminiviruses supply only the factors required to initiate viral replication and depend on host DNA polymerases to amplify their genomes. Many geminiviruses replicate in differentiated plant cells that no longer contain detectable levels of host DNA polymerases and associated factors.
Geminiviruses are major impediments to food production in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, which together account for more than 60% of the 820M undernourished people worldwide. We are working on peptide aptamers and trans-dominant negative mutants that interfere with viral replication to confer stable, general resistance against these important plant pathogens and collaborating with researchers in Africa and Asia to move the technology into key crops.
In eukaryotes, DNA replication begins at specific sites in their genomes designated as origins of replication. Even though origins have been mapped to specific sequences in yeast, it has proven more difficult to define origins in higher eukaryotes. We are collaborating with other scientists to characterize plant origins of replication and to determine their relationships to matrix attachment regions, DNA methylation sites, recruitment of modified histones and transcriptional activity.
Pascuzzi PE, Flores-Vergara MA, Lee TJ, Sosinski B, Vaughn MW, Hanley-Bowdoin L, Thompson WF, Allen GC (2014) In vivo mapping of arabidopsis scaffold/matrix attachment regions reveals link to nucleosome-disfavoring poly(dA:dT) tracts. The Plant Cell 26: 102-20
Bass HW, Wear EE, Lee TJ, Hoffman GG, Gumber HK, Allen GC, Thompson WF, Hanley-Bowdoin L (2014) A maize root tip system to study DNA replication programmes in somatic and endocycling nuclei during plant development. Journal of Experimental Botany 65: 2747-56
Hanley-Bowdoin L, Bejarano ER, Robertson D, Mansoor S (2013) Geminiviruses: masters at redirecting and reprogramming plant processes. Nature Reviews. Microbiology 11: 777-88
Reyes MI, Nash TE, Dallas MM, Ascencio-Ibáñez JT, Hanley-Bowdoin L (2013) Peptide aptamers that bind to geminivirus replication proteins confer a resistance phenotype to tomato yellow leaf curl virus and tomato mottle virus infection in tomato. Journal of Virology 87: 9691-706