Margaret Katz Laboratory

In the Katz laboratory, we have identified two new types of regulatory protein which play a role in the response to starvation and programmed cell death in fungi. We are studying the function of these proteins using a functional genomic approach. Some of the proteins may be useful as targets for anti-fungal drugs. This project involves the use of many different genetic, molecular biological and functional genomic techniques.

Potential projects include:

1) Identification of the DNA binding sites for regulatory proteins.

2) Isolation and genetic analysis of mutants that are altered in the programmed cell death pathway

3) Investigation of whether the putative regulatory proteins are required for virulence by creating a gene knockout in a fungal pathogen.

4) Insertion of a putative regulatory gene into an expression vector and purification of the protein.

5) Identification of proteins that interact with the new regulatory proteins.

6) Subcellular localisation of a regulatory protein using fluorescent tags.

7) Investigation of the role of the regulatory proteins in triggering programmed cell death.

Past Projects:

Footrot research programme (M. Katz). The aim of this programme is to investigate genes involved in the virulence of Dichelobacter nodosus, the anaerobic bacterium which causes footrot in sheep. This knowledge has been applied to the development of an improved diagnostic test for footrot, which has now been introduced by DPI, NSW.

Current Projects:

Aspergillus research programme (contact M. Katz). This project uses molecular genetics and functional genomics to study the production of enzymes (proteases) in response to starvation and during programmed cell death. These enzymes are important virulence determinants in fungal pathogens. Collaborators include Joan Kelly, University of Adelaide, and Matthias Brock, Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology.

Botrytis research programme (contact M. Katz). Botrytis cinerea is being used as a model plant pathogen to test the role in pathogenicity of regulatory genes discovered in the Aspergillus programme.

Associate Professor Margaret Katz, (02) 6773 3016insert div