4th year student in Plant Sciences
Rice is the most important food crop for developing countries; however, its global production is threatened by rice blast, a deleterious fungal disease caused by Magnaporthe oryzae. My research aims to understand how the leaf pathogen Magnaporthe interacts with rice roots. I have discovered that two rice protein receptor kinases (CERK1 and CEBiP) involved in immunity during leaf infection, are required for intracellular accommodation of the pathogen in the root. This novel finding describes a potential new mechanism used by the pathogen to trick, invade and gain control of the crop machinery, a useful insight that will guide the development of effective disease control strategies against rice blast.