Dr Keith Davies
Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Rothamsted Research Limited,
Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ, UK.
Telephone: +44 (0)1582 763133 x2220. Fax: +44 (0)1582 760981
Caenorhabditis elegans was the first metazoan to have its genome completely sequenced. Over the last few years this knowledge has been important in answering questions about mechanisms by which bacteria and fungi do and do not cause disease (innate immunity). My initial research in this area focused on C. elegans mutants that had changes to the surface of the cuticle (srf-mutants) and could affect the ability of nematode trapping fungi to infect C. elegans adults. In collaboration with Prof Jonathan Hodgkin, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, and aims at identifying and characterising genes that lead to changes in the cuticle of Caenorhabditis elegans that affect sensitively to the bacterium Microbacterium nematophilum and seeing if similar genes are present in plant parasitic nematodes that relate to the sensitivity of plant parasitic nematodes to Pasteuria penetrans. Understanding the genetics of cuticle variation in relationship to Pasteuria pathogenesis will help in the deployment of strains of Pasteuria that can suppress plant parasitic nematode pests and act as a biological control agent as an alternative to using chemical pesticides.
In addition I have also been investigating aspects of the role of the DAF-2 pathway that is involed in daurer formation. This pathway is related to the IGF pathway in mammals, and part of the innate immune system. In collaboration with Dr John Hart (Endocrine Pharmaceuticals) we have been investigating the effects of exogenous peptides on reproduction, lifespan and disease in C. elegans.
Recent presentations & posters
Davies, K.G., Gravato-Nobre, M., Hodgkin, J. and Williamson, V.M. (2010) Functional characterisation of surface coat genes of plant-parasitic nematodes using Caenorhabditis elegans as a heterologous expression system. Exploiting genomics to understand plant-parasitic nematodes, COST meeting Lisbon, Portugal
Davies, K.G., Gravato-Nobre, M. and Hodgkin, J. (2009) Knock-down of mucin-like genes using RNAi changed lectin staining in adult hermaphrodites of Caenorhabditis elegans. 17th International C. elegans Meeting, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Davies, K.G., Gravato-Nobre, M. and Hodgkin, J. (2009) Utilising Caenorhabditis elegans to identify surface coat mucins in plant parasitic nematodes. Exploiting genomics to understand plant-parasitic nematodes, COST meeting Toledo, Spain
Mendoza de Gives, P., Davies, K.G., Clark, S. J.
and Behnke, J.M. (1999) Predatory behaviour of trapping fungi against srf
mutants of Caenorhabditis elegans and different plant and animal
parasitic nematodes. Parasitology 119, 95-104.
Mendoza de Gives, P., Davies, K.G., Morgan, M., and Behnke, J.M. (1999) Attachment tests of Pasteuria penetrans to the cuticle of plant and animal parasitic nematodes, free living nematodes and srf mutants of Caenorhabditis elegans. Journal of Helminthology 73, 67-71.