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Department

Genetics
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I completed my undergraduate and honours degrees in Cell and Environmental Biology at the University of KwaZulu Natal, followed by an MSc degree in Plant Biotechnology at the University of Stellenbosch. My PhD degree was conducted at the University of Pretoria under the supervision of Prof. Dave Berger and Dr. Katherine Denby (University of Warwick, UK). I am a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Genetics and am involved in teaching GTS352 (Genomes) and BTC361 (Plant Genetics & Crop Biotechnology). I am the programme leader of the Eucalyptus and Pine Pathogen Interactions (EPPI) group at FABI.

The EPPI programme was initiated in 2007 with the aim of investigating the genomics and molecular biology of defence responses of forest trees to various pathogens. Arabidopsis thaliana is used to model plant-pathogen interactions in Eucalyptus or Pinus in order to understand and identify resistance mechanisms that can be manipulated in trees in future. We undertake a genomics approach to perform gene discovery in Arabidopsis, Eucalyptus and Pinus.

Forest tree species such as Eucalyptus and Pine are subjected to attack by various pests and pathogens during their life-time.  Examples are the insect pest, Leptocybe invasa, the stem canker pathogen, Chrysoporthe austroafricana, the root rot pathogen, Phytophthora cinnamomi, and the pitch canker pathogen  Fusarium circinatum. This is exacerbated by climate change, which is predicted to make environments more favourable for pathogens and pests in future. The phenomenon of “host-shifts” from native hosts to forest plantations is increasingly reported. Currently, these threats are managed by planting tolerant genotypes or, in the case of L. invasa, the use of biological control as part of an integrated management system to curb losses. Despite these measures, such threats are considered severe for a clonally propagated tree species. This calls for the understanding of the plant defence mechanisms that exist in Eucalyptus trees which may be harnessed to improve its resistance capacity in future. Thus, EPPI is dedicated to uncovering the defence arsenal in Eucalyptus and Pine based on the study of the host “defensome” (or defence transcriptome).

We study the interaction between Eucalyptus with L. invasa, Eucalyptus with P. cinnamomi, Eucalyptus with C. austroafricana and Pinus patula with Fusarium circinatum. These pathosystems provide the biological platform to address key questions such are: (1) “What is the molecular basis of tolerance and susceptibility?”, (2) “What are the signature defence responses to different types of pests and pathogens?”, (3) “What are the convergent defence responses in the host?” and (4) “Which regulatory sequences and defence genes could be targeted for enhancing defence in Eucalyptus?”. This would provide a basis to implement biotechnology strategies to develop resistant families (seedling forestry) or clones (clonal forestry) in future.

 

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Publication
McTaggart AR, Shuey LS, Granados GM, du Plessis E, Fraser S, Barnes I, Naidoo S, Wingfield MJ, Roux J. (2017) Evidence that Austropuccinia psidii may complete its sexual life cycle on Myrtaceae. Plant Pathology 10.1111/ppa.12763
Marsberg A, Kemler M, Jami F, Nagel JH, Postma-Smidt A, Naidoo S, Wingfield MJ, Crous PW, Spatafora J, Hesse CN, Robbertse B, Slippers B. (2017) Botryosphaeria dothidea: A latent pathogen of global importance to woody plant health. Molecular Plant Pathology 18:477–488. 10.1111/mpp.12495
Oates CN, Denby KJ, Myburg AA, Slippers B, Naidoo S. (2016) Insect gallers and their plant hosts: From omics data to systems biology. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 17(11):1891. 10.3390/ijms17111891 PDF
Kanzi AM, Wingfield BD, Steenkamp ET, Naidoo S, Van der Merwe NA. (2016) Intron derived size polymorphism in the mitochondrial genomes of closely related Chrysoporthe species. PLOS ONE 11(6):e0156104. 10.1371/journal.pone.0156104
Meyer FE, Shuey LS, Ramsuchit S, Mamni T, Berger DK, van den Berg N, Myburg AA, Naidoo S. (2016) Dual RNA-sequencing of Eucalyptus nitens during Phytophthora cinnamomi challenge reveals pathogen and host factors influencing compatibility. Frontiers in Plant Science 7:191. 10.3389/fpls.2016.00191 PDF
Kwenda S, Gorshkov V, Ramesh AM, Naidoo S, Rubagotti E, Birch PRJ, Moleleki LN. (2016) Discovery and profiling of small RNAs responsive to stress conditions in the plant pathogen Pectobacterium atrosepticum. BMC Genomics 17(1) 10.1186/s12864-016-2376-0
Onkendi EM, Ramesh AM, Kwenda S, Naidoo S, Moleleki LN. (2016) Draft Genome Sequence of a Virulent Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliense Isolate Causing Soft Rot of Cucumber. Genome Announcements 4(1) 10.1128/genomeA.01530-15 PDF
Ronishree Magwanda, Lizahn Zwart, Nicolaas A. van der Merwe, Lucy Moleleki, Dave Kenneth Berger, Alexander A. Myburg, Sanushka Naidoo. (2016) Localization and Transcriptional Responses of Chrysoporthe austroafricana in Eucalyptus grandis Identify Putative Pathogenicity Factors. Front. Microbiol. 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01953
Visser EA, Wegrzyn JL, Steenkamp ET, Myburg AA, Naidoo S. (2015) Combined de novo and genome guided assembly and annotation of the Pinus patula juvenile shoot transcriptome. BMC Genomics 16:1057. 10.1186/s12864-015-2277-7 PDF
Oates CN, Külheim C, Myburg AA, Slippers B, Naidoo S. (2015) The transcriptome and terpene profile of Eucalyptus grandis reveals mechanisms of defence against the insect pest, Leptocybe invasa. Plant & Cell Physiology 56(7):1418-1428. 10.1093/pcp/pcv064
Mangwanda R, Myburg AA, Naidoo S. (2015) Transcriptome and hormone profiling reveals Eucalyptus grandis defence responses against Chrysoporthe austroafricana. BMC Genomics 16:319. 10.1186/s12864-015-1529-x PDF
Visser EA, Mangwanda R, Becker JVW, Külheim C, Foley WJ, Myburg AA, Naidoo S. (2015) Foliar terpenoid levels and corresponding gene expression are systemically and differentially induced in Eucalyptus grandis clonal genotypes in response to Chrysoporthe austroafricana challenge. Plant Pathology 64(6):1320-1325. 10.1111/ppa.12368
Naidoo S, Külheim C, Zwart L, Mangwanda R, Oates CN, Visser EA, Wilken FE, Mamni TB, Myburg AA. (2014) Uncovering the defence responses of Eucalyptus to pests and pathogens in the genomics age. Tree Physiology 34(9):931-943. 10.1093/treephys/tpu075 PDF
Van der Linden L, Bredenkamp J, Naidoo S, Fouche-Weich J, Denby KJ, Genin S, Marco Y, Berger DK. (2013) Gene-for-Gene Tolerance to Bacterial Wilt in Arabidopsis. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 26:398-406. 10.1094/MPMI-07-12-0188-R
Fitza K, Payn KG, Steenkamp ET, Myburg AA, Naidoo S. (2013) Chitosan application improves resistance to Fusarium circinatum in Pinus patula. South African Journal of Botany 85:70-78.
Naidoo R, Ferreira L, Berger DK, Myburg AA, Naidoo S. (2013) The identification and differential expression of Eucalyptus grandis pathogenesis-related genes in response to salicylic acid and methyl jasmonate. Frontiers in Plant Science 4:43. 10.3389/fpls.2013.00043
Naidoo S, Fouche-Weich J, Law P, Denby KJ, Marco Y, Berger DK. (2011) A Eucalyptus bacterial wilt isolate from South Africa is pathogenic on Arabidopsis and manipulates host defences. Forest Pathology 41:101-113. 10.1111/j.1439-0329.2010.00642.x
Naidoo S, Murray SL, Denby KJ, Berger DK. (2007) Microarray analysis of the Arabidopsis thaliana cir1 (constitutively induced resistance 1) mutant reveals candidate defence response genes against Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato DC3000. South African Journal of Botany 73:412-421.
Naidoo S, Denby KJ, Berger DK. (2005) Microarray experiments: considerations for experimental design. South African Journal of Science 101:347-354.