• Genetics & Molecular Biology

    Genetics & Molecular Biology

Molecular Biology is a fundamental area of investigative research in Biology that employs new technologies and experimental approaches to examine fundamental processes in all living organisms. In the course of these investigations, we use wide variety of model organisms, including mice, guinea pigs, human tissue cell cultures, the nematode species Caenorhabditis elegans, the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, model bacteria and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The research is of immediate relevance to human health in many areas including cancer, inherited genetic diseases and disease resistance, DNA repair, and neurosystem development and function. We welcome strong applicants as undergraduate researchers, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Robin Cameron
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LSB 529
(905) 525-9140 ext. 26345

Plants like animals defend themselves from disease and sometimes succumb to microbial disease. My research group is interested in understanding the molecular genetic and biochemical mechanisms of plant immunity. Our long-term goal is to translate our plant immunity knowledge to reduce crop loss and pesticide use in agriculture. After many years of challenging research, my team demonstrated that DIR1 proteins move via the phloem from an initially infected leaf to distant leaves to participate in alerting/priming distant leaves to respond in a resistant manner to future microbial infections. Knowing that DIR1 is a key protein involved in inter-organ communication to initiate resistance, will allow us to dissect the priming response in distant leaves. We are using this knowledge to find environmentally friendly chemical treatments that initiate natural plant defense to provide pesticide-free methods to protect Ontario greenhouse-grown cucumbers and tomatoes from disease. We also study the Age-Related Resistance response in which plants become highly resistant to normally virulent pathogens as they mature. What molecular changes allow a mature plant to perceive and effectively defend against normally virulent pathogens, is another fascinating question we are investigating. As an instructor my goals include convincing students/future citizens that contrary to popular opinion, plants are fascinating and incredibly important for people and the planet. As a mentor to undergraduate and graduate students, I facilitate their growth as scientists and people. I encourage them to improve in areas they find challenging by reminding them it takes time, but it?s worth it.

Genetics & Molecular Biology; Microbiology & Plant Biology

  • Carella P, Wilson DC, Cameron RK*. Mind the gap: Signal movement through plasmodesmata is critical for the manifestation of Systemic Acquired Resistance. Plant Signaling and Behavior, solicited by PSB editor, in press.
  • Carella P, Wilson DC, Cameron RK. Some things get better with age: differences in salicylic acid accumulation and defense signaling in young and mature Arabidopsis. Invited perspective for Frontiers in Plant Science 2015, 5:775. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00775.
  • Yeo M, Carella P, Fletcher J, Champigny MJ, Weretilnyk EA, Cameron RK*. Development of a Pseudomonas syringae–Eutrema salsugineum pathosystem to investigate disease resistance in a stress tolerant extremophile model plant. Plant Pathology 2015, 64: 297–306, doi:10.1111/ppa.12271.
  • Carella P, Isaacs M and Cameron RK*. Plasmodesmata-Located Protein (PDLP) Overexpression Negatively Impacts the Manifestation of Systemic Acquired Resistance and the Long-Distance Movement of DIR1 in Arabidopsis. Plant Biology 2015, 17:395-401, doi:10.1111/plb.12234.
  • Wilson DC, Carella P, Cameron RK*. Intercellular salicylic acid accumulation during compatible and incompatible Arabidopsis-Pseudomonas syringae interactions. Plant Signaling and Behavior 2014; 9:e29362; PMID:24874267; http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/psb.29362. Article Addendum, solicited by PSB editor.
  • Carviel JL, Wilson DC, Isaacs M, Carella P, Catana V, Golding B, Weretilnyk EA, Cameron RK.* (2014) Investigation in intercellular salicylic acid accumulation during compatible and incompatible Arabidopsis-Pseudomonas syringae interactions using a fast neutron-generated mutant allele of EDS5 identified by genetic mapping and whole genome sequencing. PLoS One. 9:388608.
  • Champigny MJ, Sung WW, Catana V, Salwan R, Summers PS, Dudley SA, Provart NJ, Cameron RK, Golding GB, Weretilnyk EA. (2013) RNA-Seq effectively monitors gene expression in Eutrema salsugineum plants growing in an extreme natural habitat and in controlled growth cabinet conditions. BMC Genomics 14:578.
  • Champigny MJ, Isaacs M, Carella P, Faubert J, Fobert PR, Cameron RK.* (2013) Long distance movement of DIR1 and investigation of the role of DIR1-like during systemic acquired resistance in Arabidopsis. Front. Plant Sci. 4:230.
  • Wilson DC, Carella P, Isaacs M, Cameron RK.* (2013) The floral transition is not the developmental switch that confers competence for the Arabidopsis age-related resistance response to Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato. Plant Mol. Biol. 83: 235-246.
  • Champigny MJ, Shearer H, Mohammad A, Haines K, Neumann M, Thilmony R, He SY, Fobert P, Dengler N, Cameron RK*. (2011). Localization of DIR1 at the tissue, cellular and subcellular levels during Systemic Acquired Resistance in Arabidopsis using DIR1:GUS and DIR1:EGFP reporters. BMC Plant Biol. 11:125.
  • Carviel JL, Al-Daoud F, Neumann M, Mohammad A, Provart NJ, Moeder W, Yoshioka K, Cameron RK.* (2009) Forward and reverse genetics to identify genes involved in the age-related resistance response in Arabidopsis thaliana. Mol. Plant. Pathol. 10:621-34.
  • Vlot, C., Liu, P., Cameron, RK., Park, S-W., Yang, Y., Kumar, D. Zhou, F., Paddukavidana, T., Gustafsson, C., Pichersky, E., Klessig, D. 2009 Identification of likely orthologs of tobacco salicylic acid-binding protein 2 and their role in systemic acquired resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant J, accepted June 25, 2008, TPJ-00428-2008.R1.
  • Y. Haffani, N. Silva-Gagliardi, S. Sewter, M. Aldea, Z. Zhao, A. Nakhamchik, R. Cameron, D. Goring. Altered Expression of PERK Receptor Kinases in Arabidopsis Leads to Changes in Growth and Floral Organ Formation. Plant Signaling and Behavior 1:5, 251-260, September/October 2006
  • C.Rusterucci, Z. Zhao, K.Haines, D.Mellersh, M.Neumann, R.K.Cameron*. Age-Related Resistance to Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato is associated with the transition to flowering in Arabidopsis and is effective against Peronospora parasitica in a salicylic acid-independent manner. Physiological & Molecular Plant Pathology, 66: 222-231, 2005.
  • R.K.Cameron* and K.Zaton. Intercellular Salicylic acid accumulation is important for the Age-Related Resistance response toPseudomonas syringaePhysiological & Molecular Plant Pathology 65: 197-209, 2004.
  • A.Nakhamchik, Z.Zhao, N.J.Provart, S-H.Shiu, S.K.Keatley, R.K.Cameron, D.R. Goring*. A Comprehensive Expression Analysis of the Arabidopsis Proline-rich Extensin-like Receptor Kinase Gene Family using Bioinformatic and Experimental Approaches.Plant and Cell Physiology 45:1875-1888, 2004.
  • H.Suzuki, Y.Xia, R.K.Cameron, G.Chadle, J.Blount, C.Lamb, R.Dixon*. Signals for local and systemic responses of plants to pathogen attack. J Experimental Botany 55: 169-179, 2004.
  • A.Maldonado, P.Doerner, R.A.Dixon, C.J.Lamb, R.K.Cameron*. A putative Lipid Transfer Protein involved in systemic resistance signaling in Arabidopsis.Nature, 419: 399-403, 2002, * co-first author and senior author.
  • J.Kus, R.Sarkar, K.Zaton, and R.K.Cameron*. Age-related resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana is a developmentally induced response to Pseudomonas syringae. Plant Cell 14: 479-490, 2002.
  • J.Wolfe, C.Hutcheon, V.Higgins and R.K.Cameron*. A functional gene-for-gene interaction is required for the production of an oxidative burst in response to infection with avirulent Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato in Arabidopsis thaliana. Physiological & Molecular Plant Pathology, 56: 253-261, 2000.
  • R.K.Cameron*.Salicylic acid and its role in plant defense responses: what do we really know? Invited and reviewed commentary in Physiological & Molecular Plant Pathology 56: 91-93, 2000.
  • R.K.Cameron*, N.Paiva, C.J.Lamb and R.A.Dixon.  Accumulation of salicylic acid and PR-1 gene transcripts in relation to the Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR) response induced by Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato in Arabidopsis.Physiological & Molecular Plant Pathology 55:121-130,1999 * first and senior author
  • R.K.Cameron, R.A.Dixon and C.J.Lamb*. Biologically induced systemic acquired resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana. The Plant Journal, 5: 715-725, 1994
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McMaster University - Faculty of Science | Biology