Nazanin Noorifar

Doctor of Philosophy, (Genetics)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
How does Epichloe festucae avoid host defence response?

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Chitin is an important component of the fungal cell wall, which can act as a pathogen associated molecular pattern and trigger the host immune system. Therefore, to establish a stable symbiosis the fungus needs to be hidden, or suppression of the host immune system is necessary. Mrs Noorifar identified two lysM and two chitinase genes in the fungus Epichloë festucae, and showed that these genes are required for establishment of the symbiosis between E. festucae and its host plant perennial ryegrass. Her research also revealed that the conversion of chitin into chitosan in the fungal cell wall during the host infection and colonisation is another strategy deployed by the fungus to avoid the host defence response. Mrs Noorifar's research has provided valuable insight into understanding how fungus avoid host defence response in order to establish the infection of the plant host.

Professor Barry Scott
Dr Matthew Savoian