Education and Professional Positions

Ph.D., University of London, 2002

Assistant Professor of Biology

Current Research Interests

Plants have evolved several mechanisms to protect themselves from invading pathogens and parasites. One component of plant defenses is a highly specific and powerful response called gene-for-gene resistance. My lab is interested in uncovering how gene-for-gene resistance operates at a molecular level. That is, how do the proteins encoded by plant resistance (R) genes recognize corresponding pathogen avirulence (Avr) proteins to initiate the signaling events that trigger plant immunity to pathogens? Our research focuses on the CNL class of R proteins that contain coiled-coil (CC), nucleotide-binding and leucine-rich repeat domains. Research projects in the lab aim to define protein interactions within the cell that are important for CNL function in the model plants Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana benthamiana.

Selected Publications

Rairdan, G.J., Collier, S.M., Sacco, M.A., Baldwin, T.T., Boettrich, T., and P. Moffett. 2008. Novel roles for the CC and NB domains in signaling and recognition by the Rx NB-LRR disease resistance protein. The Plant Cell 20:1-13.

Sacco, M.A., Mansoor, S., and P. Moffett. 2007. A RanGAP protein physically interacts with the NB-LRR protein Rx, and is required for Rx-mediated viral resistance. Plant J. 52(1):82-93.

Website

http://biology.fullerton.edu/Standard_FACULTY/Melanie_Sacco.htm