2024 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Comparing the Quantity of Heat Stress-Associated Genes in Sagebrush Phyllosphere Fungi

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Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Leonora Bittleston


Microbes living on plant leaves can be beneficial or harmful to their host. These microbes face stressors in the leaf habitat such as heat stress that can affect where they thrive. The KEGG Orthology (KO) database is a collection of functional orthologs that combine to form molecular networks and pathways within a specific annotated genome called KEGG pathways. Each functional ortholog gene and its protein product are assigned a KO number identifier through gene annotation that is able to automatically construct pathways with the KO numbers as nodes. Using KO numbers is an easy way to quickly identify if a certain gene or protein is found within an organism’s genome. In this project, we used KO numbers to compare the quantity of proteins related to heat stress prevention in sagebrush phyllosphere fungi found in both warm and cold temperatures. We hypothesized that fungi that were more prevalent in months with high temperatures will have a higher abundance of proteins that are associated with preventing heat shock than fungi that were more prevalent in colder months.

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