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[Maize] Post-doctoral position in maize/herbivore interactions

Dawn Luthe via maize%40net.bio.net (by dsl14 from psu.edu)
Mon Apr 23 11:53:40 EST 2007

I am  seeking a post-doctoral research associate  for my laboratory 
at Penn State. The person hired for this position will be involved in 
fulfilling the objectives of my recently funded NSF grant "Digestion 
of the Caterpillar Midgut by a Maize Defense Protease." The position 
will be a combination of plant and insect molecular biology. 
Research in my lab using corn lines that are genetically resistant to 
fall armyworm has identified a novel defense that corn uses to deter 
herbivores. In response to caterpillar attack, a cysteine protease 
accumulates in the plant at the caterpillar-feeding site.  This 
protease is similar to papain, the protein-degrading enzyme that is 
present in meat tenderizers.  This defensive protease, called 
Mir1-CP, has been shown to attack and degrade the peritrophic 
membrane (PM) of the fall armyworm and other caterpillars.  The PM 
lines the midgut, surrounds the food bolus and protects the insect's 
digestive track from toxins and pathogens. It is essential for 
optimal nutrient utilization and PM disruption often results in 
caterpillar death. This project will determine if there are 
differences in susceptibility to Mir1-CP among several economically 
important caterpillar pests. It will determine if PM protein 
composition contributes to resistance or susceptibility to Mir1-CP 
attack.  Finally, it will determine if the caterpillar is able to 
recover from exposure to diets containing Mir1-CP. The techniques of 
proteomics and molecular biology will be used to accomplish the 

If you are interested in applying for this position,  please contact 
me by email at dsl14 from psu.edu.

Dawn S.  Luthe
Professor of Plant Stress Biology
116 ASI Building
Department of Crop and Soil Sciences
The Pennsylvania  State University
University Park,  PA  16802

phone 814-863-3542
cell  814-308-4922

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