My research is based on the functional study of nematode genes involved in the host plant interaction. Currently, my research is focused on the isolation and molecular characterization of a gene family of endoclucanases, hydrolytic enzymes which degrade the cellulose, in the lesion nematode Pratylenchus vulnus. This migratory endoparasite feeds of the content of the root cortical cells, moving freely between them.
The invasion, migration, and the ability of the nematode to live in the host plant is due to the product of these parasitism genes, which are the target of my research. The tissue localization of these transcripts is determined through in situ hibridization, while the quantification by means of qRT-PCR.
Functional analysis of these transcripts and other genes involved in the parasitism (FAR-1) is carried out by RNA interference.
Another research area involves the molecular identification of species of parasitic nematodes (Xiphinema, Longidorus and Pratylenchus) from around the world, by using as molecular markers regions of ribosomal DNA (18S and 28S rDNA and ITS), the mitochondrial gene for COI and the nuclear gene for hsp90.