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‘Exploring the role of Ham1 in Cassava Brown Streak Disease’: CONNECTED Online Seminar

An online presentation made by Dr. Andy Bailey (University of Bristol, UK) on 17 June 2021 to the third in the CONNECTED Online Seminar Series is now available for Network members to watch on the CONNECTED Vimeo channel.

Dr Bailey’s presentation, ‘Exploring the role of Ham1 in Cassava Brown Streak Disease’ (CBSD), focused on the molecular biology of the virus.

Comparing cassava brown streak virus (CBSV) with other potyviruses, he noted a distinguishing feature of CBSV genome is the presence of a Ham1 gene.

Dr. Bailey outlined the methodology of the research to understand more about what the Ham1 protein does within the host plant. This included cloning the Ham1 gene into E. coli and demonstrating that it has ITPase activity.

This enzyme protects replicating nucleic acid from mutation by preventing the incorporation of ‘bad’ nucleotides.

He explained how his group had explored the role of Ham1 in tobacco using CBSV infectious clones with modified Ham1. This then led them to discover that Ham1 was not essential for virus replication in tobacco.

Dr Bailey explained that work by another research group in Spain, led by Dr Adrian Valli, had used CBSV infectious clones to demonstrate that the Ham1 gene is required for infecting cassava.

The research teams’ emerging hypothesis is that Ham1 has a role in proof reading to protect CSBV replication in the cytoplasm. It may also have a beneficial role in Euphorbia plants more broadly given its presence in the genome of other viruses that infect Euphorbia plants.

CONNECTED network members can watch Dr. Bailey’s presentation using this link. You will need to be logged in as a CONNECTED member on the device you are using.