personal details and research activity: People
The research activity of B. Navarro is focused on the study of the molecular interactions between viruses/viroids and their host plants. Viroids are intracellular infectious agents with a genome consisting of a small, non-coding circular RNA. Therefore, they deeply differ from viruses, which instead have a genome coding for proteins. Notwithstanding this relevant difference, viroids resemble viruses in the ability of invading systemically the host and in causing diseases in plants of agronomical interest. Moreover, viroids are useful models to study RNA structure-function relationships.
Research activity of B. Navarro on viroids is aimed to deepen the knowledge on the molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of these infectious agents, on the role of RNA silencing in the plant-viroid interactions, and on the putative epigenetic effects of viroid infections in their hosts. B. Navarro applies high-throughput sequencing technologies for the identification and characterization of new viral and viroid-like infectious agents, mainly from woody plants and associated with diseases of unknown eziology. These studies allow the development of new diagnostic tools for the control of viruses/viroids causing diseases in economically relevant plant species .
In the frame of the European project PRE-HLB, B. Navarro is involved in the characterization of the virome and the microbiome of Trioza erytreae, the insect vector of Candidatus Liberabacter africanus, one of the bacteria causing the huanglongbing (also known as “greening”) citrus disease.