Jonathan D. G. Jones

The Sainsbury Laboratory


Election Year: 2015
Primary Section: 62, Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences
Secondary Section: 25, Plant Biology
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Biosketch

Jonathan D G Jones is a plant molecular geneticist who has made distinctive contributions to understanding how plants resist disease, and to how pathogens circumvent host immune mechanisms. He was born in London UK in 1954, where he grew up.  He graduated from Cambridge University, UK, with a degree in Botany (1976), and a PhD jointly between Cambridge Genetics Department and the Plant Breeding Institute in Trumpington (1980). After postdoctoral work with Fred Ausubel at Harvard on symbiotic nitrogen fixation (1981-2), he worked at start-up agbiotech company AGS in Oakland, CA, working closely with Hugo Dooner to study the behavior of maize transposons in tobacco. Since 1988, JJ has worked at the Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich UK, serving as Head of Laboratory 1994-7 and 2003-2009. He was elected member of EMBO in 1998, and Fellow of Royal Society in 2003. In 2012 he was awarded the U Minnesota Stakman prize. He is a Professor at the University of East Anglia.  He has served as advisor to the Danforth Centre in St Louis, and is an advisor to the 2Blades Foundation.

Research Interests

In the early 90s, the Jones group used genetics to discover the first transmembrane cell surface receptors involved in immunity in plants, and discovered that the leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domain of such receptors is involved in pathogen recognition. He was first to propose the guard hypothesis for indirect recognition of pathogen molecules by plant immune receptors.
Current Research in the Jones laboratory includes;
Paired NLR immune receptor function. The Arabidopsis RPS4 and RRS1 genes encode an intracellular immune receptor complex that is required for recognition of bacterial effectors AvrRps4 and PopP2 via their interactions with the RRS1 WRKY DNA-binding “integrated decoy” domain. The Jones lab is investigating how recognition of effectors results in defense activation by the complex.
Effector proteins from obligate biotrophs; Albugo candida and downy mildew. Pathogens have evolved effector proteins that interfere with host defense mechanisms. The Jones lab has helped define the Arabidopsis downy mildew effector complement and some host targets, and continues to investigate white rusts of Brassicaceae by defining Albugo genomes, their evolution, their effector repertoires, and host targets of their effectors.
Novel resistance genes to P. infestans.  The Jones lab is isolating novel Resistance to Phytophthora infestans (Rpi) genes from wild diploid potatoes. Rpi-vnt1 will be the such resistance gene deployed transgenically in commerce. To accelerate R gene cloning the Jones lab developed RenSeq, a method to define all the intracellular immune receptor sequences (the “NLRome”) of a plant of interest, to reveal receptor diversity and evolution.

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