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Tesfaye D Mengiste

Botany and Plant Pathology 

  • Associate Department Head of Research
  • Professor
Lilly Hall Room G-452

 General Information

Research in Mengiste lab focuses on molecular mechanisms of plant resistance to important fungal pathogens which reduce crop productivity. Key genetic regulators of plant resistance are identified and their functions studied in the model plant Arabidopsis, and two crop plants tomato and sorghum. Through genetic, molecular, and biochemical approaches, we determine how selected components regulate plant immune responses to fungal resistance. Molecular and biochemical mechanisms of early plant responses to infection are studied with a focus on the role of tomato receptor like cytoplasmic kinases. How plants activate immune gene expression, and the role of transcription regulators, co-regulators, and enzymes that regulate histone epigenetic marks are studied though a combination of genetic and genomic tools. In parallel, attempts are made to translate some of the findings into genetic improvement of crops. In sorghum, the natural variation is being explored to identify genes or genomic regions that confer broad-spectrum resistance to anthracnose and grain mold diseases that are major fungal diseases of the crop. Ultimately, the goal is to generate improved disease control strategies by generating tools and knowledge that expedite resistance breeding. 


Current Research Focus:

  • Immune response signaling- the role of receptor like cytoplasmic kinases, transcription regulators, co-regulators, chromatin modifying enzymes and histone epigenetic marks in fungal and bacterial resistance in Arabidopsis and tomato.
  • Genetic control of fungal resistance in sorghum - identify resistance genes or loci that confer broad-spectrum resistance to anthracnose with the ultimate goal of genetic improvement for pathogen resistance.

Selected Publications

  • Girma G, Nida H, Tirfessa A, Lule D, Bejiga T, Seyoum A, Mekonen M, Nega A, Dessalegn K, Birhanu C, Bekele A, Gebreyohannes A, Ayana G, Tesso T, Ejeta G, Mengiste T. 2020. A comprehensive phenotypic and genomic characterization of Ethiopian sorghum germplasm defines core collection and reveals rich genetic potential in adaptive traits. Plant Genome. 2020 Nov;13(3):e20055. doi: 10.1002/tpg2.20055.
  • Zhu Y,  Huang P, Guo P  ,  Chong L,  Yu G, SunX , Hu T , Li Y ,  Hsu CC  ,  Tang T , Zhou Y, Zhao C , Gao W  , Tao A  , Mengiste T, Zhu JK. 2020. CDK8 is associated with RAP2.6 and SnRK2.6 and positively modulates abscisic acid signaling and drought response in Arabidopsis. New Phytologist (2020) doi: 10.1111/nph.16787.
  • Nida H. Mekonen M., Lee S., Seyoum A.,  Dessalegn K., Tadesse T., Ayana G., Senbetay T., Tesso T., Ejeta G., Mengiste, T. 2019. Identification of sorghum grain mold resistance loci through genome wide association mapping. Journal of Cereal science 85: 295-304.
  • Girma G,  Nida H,  Mekonen M,  Seyoum A,  Nega A,  Gebreyohannes A, Ayana G, Taddese T,  Lule D, Dessalegn K,  Mekbib FH,  Belete B,  Tesso T,  Ejeta G, Mengiste T, 2019. Large-scale Genome wide Association Analyses of Ethiopian Sorghum Landrace Collection Reveal Loci Associated with Important Traits. Front Plant Sci. 2019 May 29;10:691. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00691. eCollection 2019.
  • Chen J, Mohan R, Zhang Y, Li M, Chen H, Palmer IA, Chang M, Qi G, Spoel SH, Mengiste T, Wang D, Liu F, Fu ZQ. 2019. NPR1 Promotes Its Own and Target Gene Expression in Plant Defense by Recruiting CDK8. Plant Physiol. 181(1):289-304.
  • Xu S, Liao CJ, Jaiswal N, Lee S, Yun DJ, Lee SY, Garvey M, Kaplan I, Mengiste T. (2018). Tomato PEPR1 ORTHOLOG RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE1 Reg

Botany and Plant Pathology, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4614

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