Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Beachy, Roger N.
Location Washington University in St. Louis
Primary Field Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
Secondary Field Plant Biology
 Election Citation
Beachy pioneered the first method of protecting crops from viruses by incorporation of virus genes into the plant genome. His discoveries have led to new fundamental understanding of virus multiplication and movement in plants. Beachy's collaborations transferred his technology worldwide by engineering resistance to native viruses into third world crops.
 Research Interests
My research goals include determining how plant virus replication and gene expression impact virus pathogenicity, and developing strategies to interdict disease. Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) is used as the model for most of our studies. The 30 kDa movement protein (MP) encoded by TMV is essential for local cell-cell spread of infection and is associated with elements of the cytoskeleton, the endoplasmic reticulum, and with plasmodesmata. Our current studies are directed to characterizing the nature of association of the MP and virus replication complexes with host components, and determining how cell-cell spread is accomplished. In studies of coat protein (CP) mediated resistance we are creating mutants of the CP based upon the known 3-D structure of the virus, to increase or decrease CP:CP interactions. Mutants with increased interactions, including those that did not produce viable virions, conferred increased resistance. We anticipate that certain mutants will extend the efficacy and breadth of CP-mediated resistance. In research on rice tungro bacilliform virus, a DNA virus, we characterized two host protein, each of which are b-ZIP proteins, that bind viral DNA and are apparently important in virus gene expression. The role of these transcriptional activators in viral pathogenesis is being investigated.

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