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June 1, 2010

DWU professor Cole invited into honor society Sigma Xi

Dr. Anthony Cole
Dr. Anthony Cole

MITCHELL — Dr. Anthony Cole, associate professor of biochemistry at Dakota Wesleyan University, has been nominated and accepted into full membership to Sigma Xi, a scientific research society.

Sigma Xi was founded in 1886 at Cornell University and has since grown to include more than 500 chapters and more than 60,000 active members from the science and engineering fields.

Membership is by invitation, and full membership is given to those who have demonstrated significant achievements in research.

Cole has been with DWU since 2004. His research involves trying to understand the environmental and genetic factors that influence the pathogenicity and host range of plant viruses. As a graduate student at the University of Missouri in Columbia, he found that the hypersensitive response, HR, of Nicotiana edwardsonii to Cauliflower mosaic virus, CaMV, can be genetically separated into resistance and necrosis traits that are derived from two different plant species: resistance from N. glutinosa and necrosis from N. clevelandii. (N. edwardsonii is a solanaceous plant that originated from a cross between N. glutinosa and N. clevelandii.)

Cole has also shown that the gene for resistance to CaMV in N. edwardsonii segregates independently of the N gene which conditions resistance to Tobacco mosaic virus, TMV, in N. glutinosa. Furthermore, they were able to show that the resistance to TMV in N. edwardsonii is temporally regulated with older plants being more resistant to TMV than younger plants.

Current research in his lab involves identifying a new TMV resistance gene in N. tabacum (tobacco) that, unlike the N gene, segregates recessively and lacks the HR observed in the classical N gene response to TMV infection. He is also attempting to characterize and isolate another TMV resistance gene from another Nicotiana species that is not temperature sensitive. The N gene can be inactivated at temperatures above 27°C. However, this gene is still fully active and confers resistance to TMV at temperatures above 32°C.

This summer, Cole will work with a Mount Marty College junior, Nicholas Wenande, of Mitchell, in Cole’s lab using an Agrobacterium expression system to investigate the development of local and systemic responses to Tobacco Mosaic Virus infection in Nicotiana gossei. They will also be looking for new viruses in wheat fields around the area.

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