MEHDY, MONA

Mona Mehdy

Associate Professor
Molecular Biosciences


mmehdy@austin.utexas.edu

Phone: 512-471-5806

Office Location
PAI 2.32

Postal Address
The University of Texas at Austin
Molecular Biosciences, College of Natural Sciences
2506 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712

Research Summary:

In response to pathogens and herbivores, plants employ up-regulation and down-regulation of diverse genes to achieve resistance. Research in my lab centers on two areas: 1) molecular mechanisms of down-regulation of gene expression during the plant defense response and its biological significance; 2) understanding the functions of specific defense-down-regulated genes during normal growth and development. We are especially focused on analyzing signaling pathways linking pathogen recognition and mRNA degradation. The mRNA for a bean cell wall protein, PvPRP1, is rapidly degraded during the defense response. The PvPRP1 protein fails to undergo a cross-linking reaction characteristic of disease resistance, hence providing a biological rationale for its down-regulation. The upstream signaling pathway and the physiological advantage accrued by mRNA down-regulation are being investigated in transgenic Arabidopsis. In contrast, a related Arabidopsis cell wall protein gene, AGP31,exhibits transcriptional down-regulation to a defense signaling molecule, jasmonic acid. AGP31 mutant plants exhibit an unusual developmental change and we are interested to understand this linkage. A third research area involves the use of algae for biofuels. Our lab is examining the effects of biotic and abiotic stresses on a model algal species, the diatom Phaseodactylum tricornatum, at the molecular level.

Publications:

2007 Liu, C, and Mehdy, M.C., A non-classical arabinogalactan-protein gene highly expressed in vascular tissues, AGP31, is transcriptionally repressed by methyl jasmonic acid in Arabidopsis, Plant Physiology 145: 863-874

1998 Lambais, M.R. and Mehdy, M.C., Spatial distribution of chitinases and 1,3-glucanase transcripts in bean arbuscular mycorrhizal roots under low and high soil phosphate conditions., New Phytologist 140: 33-42 view

1996 Mehdy, M.C., Sharma, .K., Sathasivan, K., Bays, N.W. , The role of activated oxygen species in plant disease resistance. , Physiol. Plantarum 98: 365-374 view

1994 S. Zhang and M. Mehdy, Binding of a 50-kD protein to a U-rich sequence in a MRNA encoding a proline-rich protein that is destabilized by fungal elicitor. , Plant Cell 6: 135-145 view