PLANT MOLECULAR VIROLOGY GROUP
The research topic of the group is molecular biology of the viroids. Viroids are the smallest RNA pathogens that infect the higher plants including some economically important crops. The non-coding viroid RNA genome supplies genetic information such as replicability, pathogenicity, mobility and host-specificity. It is assumed that the RNA sequence folds in a specific secondary structure that provides binding signals for host (protein) factors. It is further assumed that these factors exert in combination with the viroid RNA the genetic program of this RNA replicon. In this context the group is focused on molecular host-viroid interactions mediating viroid replication and movement in host plants and parasitic plants. A role of post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) in viroid pathogenicity is currently under thorough investigation.
National Science Fund DN06-6