Professor Emeritus of Microbiology
Phone:(206) 616-8588, (206) 543-0382
Office Location: Health Sciences K-328A
Campus Box: 357735
Dr. Nester was educated at Cornell and Western Reserve University, and did postgraduate work at Stanford. He served as a specialist for the Chinese University Development Project at Nankai University, Tianjin, PRC, and as an invited scholar for the U.S.&endash;China Visiting Scholar Exchange Program of the National Academy of Sciences. He held a Burroughs Wellcome Visiting Professorship in Microbiology. He has received a number of awards for his research including the inaugural Australia Prize (1990) and the Cetus Award in Biotechnology (1991). In 1994 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the editorial board of CRC Critical Reviews in Plant Science and Molecular&endash;Plant Microbe Interactions. He is the co-author of three textbooks, the most recent Microbiology, A Human Perspective. He is currently Chair of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology and a member of the National Academy of India.
Research in Dr. Nester’s laboratory is concerned with a molecular analysis of plant-bacterial interaction, using the crown gall-plant tumor system as a model. The soil microorganism, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, transfers a small piece (T-DNA) of a tumor-inducing (Ti) plasmid into plant cells, where it becomes integrated into the plant chromosome and confers new properties on the tissue. Agrobacterium is currently being used worldwide to genetically engineer plants.
Dr. Nester’s laboratory is attempting to understand the mechanisms by which Agrobacterium interacts with plant cells at various levels. Studies in his laboratory have shown that one of the first stages in the bacterial-plant interaction involves the activation of bacterial genes by signals from the wounded plant. These genes, the vir genes, are essential for the processing and transfer of the T-DNA into plant cells. A major focus is to elucidate how Agrobacterium recognizes and processes these plant signals to activate the vir genes. Other studies involve a genetic-biochemical analysis of the vir genes to determine their function in the transfer of T-DNA into plant cells.
Roberts, R., Metz, M., Monks, D., Lockwood-Mullaney, M., Hall, T. and Nester, E.W. 2003. Purine Synthesis and increased Agrobacterium tumefaciens transformation of yeast and plants. PNAS USA. 100(11):6634-6639.
Nester, E., Wood, D. and Pu Liu. 2004. Global Analysis of Agrobacterium-Plant Interactions. Keynote Address Presented at 9th Japan-US Seminar on Plant-Pathogen Interactions. APS Press, St. Paul, MN.
De Figueiredo, P., Roberts, R.L. and Nester E.W. 2004. DARTS: a DNA-based In Vitro Polypeptide Display Technology. Proteomics. 4:3128-3140.
Nester, E., Wood, D., and Liu, P. 2004. Agrobacterium-plant interactions: unfinished business and continuing surprises. Proceedings of the 11th International Congress on Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, St. Petersburg, Russia, July 18 Š 26, 2003. Biology of Plant-Microbe Interactions, Vol 4.
Suksomtip, M., Liu, P., Wood, D. and Nester, E.W. 2005. Citrate Synthase Mutants of Agrobacterium are attenuated in virulence and display reduced vir gene induction. J. Bact. In Press.