Center for Plant Cell Biology


Wenbo MaWenbo Ma

Assistant Professor

Mailing Address:

Plant Pathology and Microbiology
Genomics Building /1234C
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521

Phone: (951) 827-4349
Fax: (951) 827-4294
Email: wenbo.ma@ucr.edu


PhD 2003 University of Waterloo, Canada

College/Division Affiliation:

College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Center/Inst Affiliation(s):

Center for Plant Cell Biology

Areas Of Expertise:

Bacteria-plant Interactions; Bacterial Pathogenesis; Type III Secretion System and Secreted Effectors

Research Summary:

Many bacteria associate with eukaryotic hosts to acquire nutrients. My research program aims to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying plant - bacteria interactions with the emphasis on elucidating the functions and evolution of bacterial secreted proteins during infection.

The type III secretion system (T3SS) is a specialized bacterial protein delivery system that injects virulence proteins, the type III secreted effectors (T3SEs), into the host cytosol. Once inside, T3SEs directly target their eukaryotic substrates and facilitate infection by promoting bacteria growth and suppressing host surveillance system. Many bacterial pathogens depend on T3SS and the suite of T3SEs traversing it for pathogenesis. Some of these pathogens are responsible for the most devastating diseases on animals and plants. Despite the essential role of T3SS and T3SEs plays in pathogenesis, the majority of the T3SEs are uncharacterized and the molecular mechanisms by which individual T3SEs promote virulence are largely unknown. We use Pseudomonas syringae and Sinorhizobium fredii as model systems to study the functions of type III secreted effectors during interactions with their plant hosts. We have also recently started proteomic research on Spiroplasma citri, which is a mollicute causing citrus stubborn. A combination of comparative genomics, functional genomics, genetics and bioinformatic approaches is employed.

Our research will eventually lead to genetic manipulation of bacterial strains to control diseases and promote higher crop yields in agriculture, in a sustainable manner.

Related Press Releases:

Selected Publications:

List of publications from HubMed

Lab Personnel:

Zhou, Huanbin
Postgraduate Researcher — Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Plant-pathogen Interactions
Morgan, Robyn
Staff Research Associate —  Bacterial Pathogenesis
Flores, Cristina
Graduate Student Researcher —
Jiang, Chushu
Graduate Student Researcher —
Ma, Kawai
Graduate Student Researcher —
Wong, James
Graduate Student Researcher —

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Center Information

Center for Plant Cell Biology
Botany & Plant Sciences Department
2150 Batchelor Hall

Tel: (951) 827-7177
Fax: (951) 827-5155
E-mail: genomics@ucr.edu