Credits: 3

Terms Offered: Fall, contact instructor

Instructor: Xiaofeng Wang, John M. McDowell, Boris A. Vinatzer, Bingyu Zhao

Prerequisites: None


This course covers principles and concepts of infection and colonization of plants, role of host's and pathogen's physiology and biochemistry in disease susceptibility and resistance, recognition, and disease specificity. Particular emphasis is placed on molecular genetic, genomic, and evolutionary aspects of these topics, and comparisons to animal host-pathogen interactions are drawn.

Lecture Topics

  • Viral genomics and pathogenesis, comparisons with viral pathogenesis of animals
  • Bacterial genomics and pathogenesis, comparison with bacterial pathogens of animals
  • Fungal and oömycete genomics and pathogenesis, comparison with fungal and protist pathogens of animals
  • Gene acquisition and loss in the evolution of pathogenesis
  • Structure and Function of Plant Resistance Genes
  • Recognition of PAMPs by plants
  • Resistance signal transduction
  • Innate immunity in animals
  • Induction and suppression of RNA silencing in the arms race between plants
  • Costs of resistance
  • Systemic Acquired Resistance
  • Selected "Hot Topics" drawn from recent literature
  • Grant proposal preparation and participation in a mock grant review panel


  • No textbook, lectures will be based on assigned primary research articles and review papers.