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Berit Hassing

Doctor of Philosophy
Study Completed: 2019
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Genetic analysis of candidate genes that regulate the Epichloë festucae-Lolium perenne mutualistic symbiotic interaction

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

The fungus Epichloë festucae forms a stable and mutually beneficial interaction with perennial ryegrass. For this interaction to be functional, the fungus needs to be able to communicate effectively with the host to prevent a detrimental immune response, and it has to be able to communicate within the fungal network to coordinate growth and development. As part of her research, Miss Hassing investigated both lines of communication. She performed a global analysis of fungal small secreted proteins, which have been shown to be required in other plant–fungal interactions and characterised four candidates in detail. In addition, she analysed the role of lipid signaling via phosphatidic acid and a certain phosphoiniositide species for the interaction. Research findings revealed that lipid signaling is required for fungal growth and the mutualistic interaction.

Professor Barry Scott
Dr Carla Eaton
Dr Carl Mesarich