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Chenxing Niu

Botany and Plant Pathology 

  • Graduate Research Assistant

Chenxing (Esther) Niu is a PhD student with Dr. Charles Woloshuk studying the molecular regulation of fumonisin biosynthesis.  Fumonisins are produced by Fusarium verticillioides in disease corn kernels, and these mycotoxins pose a health risk to livestock and humans.  Esther’s research is focused on the transporter-like gene FST1. Deletion of this gene in F. verticillioides causes defects in secondary metabolism (fumonisin production), cell wall structure, conidiogenesis, virulence, and resistance to reactive oxygen species.  Her objectives are to: compare the transcriptomes of the wild type and FST1 mutant strain (Δfst1) during colonization of corn kernels; determine the importance of amino acids in the central loop and c-terminus regions of FST1; and characterize FST1 function when expressed in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) system. Results from this research will provide new basic knowledge about the function of a gene critical for fumonisin production.   Expected graduation: May 2016