Katalin A. Hudak

k-hudakPhD (Waterloo)
E–mail: hudak@yorku.ca
Research areas: Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Plant Biology, Biotechnology
URL: http://hudak.lab.yorku.ca/

Research Focus

Plants produce thousands of compounds to help them defend against pathogens and adapt to environmental change. One group of proteins, called glycosidases, are enzymes that remove purine bases from RNA. Damage to RNA of ribosomes for example, will reduce translation and may limit pathogen spread from an infected cell to the rest of the plant. Alternatively, we have shown that these enzymes can depurinate viral genomic RNA and inhibit several stages of the virus lifecycle.

We study pokeweed antiviral protein, a glycosidase synthesized by the pokeweed plant (Phytolacca americana). The goal of our research is to understand the regulation and function of this enzyme, using both molecular biology and bioinformatics tools. We recently sequenced the genome of pokeweed and identified several different genes encoding isoforms of pokeweed antiviral protein. Our transcriptome analysis shows that the isoforms are differentially regulated in response to stress and likely have distinct roles in pokeweed. We are currently working to understand how the isoforms are controlled at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level. On a broad scale, we are also analysing patterns of gene expression in pokeweed to identify what other proteins function in concert with pokeweed antiviral protein. Our work will provide new information about how plants adapt to changing environments and survive stress.

Representative publications:

Neller K.C.M, Diaz C.A., Platts A.E. and Hudak K.A. (2019) De novo assembly of the pokeweed genome provides insight into pokeweed antiviral protein (PAP) gene expression. Frontiers in Plant Science doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01002.

Neller K.C.M., Klenov A. and Hudak K.A. (2019) Prediction and characterization of miRNA/target pairs in non-model plants using RNA-seq. Current Protocols in Plant Biology doi: 10.1002/cppb.20090.

Neller K.C.M., Klenov A., Guzman J.C. and Hudak K.A. (2018) Integration of the pokeweed miRNA and mRNA transcriptomes reveals targeting of jasmonic acid-responsive genes. Frontiers in Plant Science 9:589. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00589.

Klenov A. and Hudak K.A. (2018) Complete coding sequence and infectious clone of pokeweed mosaic virus Arkansas isolate. European Journal of Plant Pathology 152: 541-547.

Kutky M. and Hudak K.A. (2017) Expression of RNA glycosidase inhibits HIV-1 transactivation of transcription. Biochemical Journal 474: 3471-3483.

Neller K.C.M., Klenov A. and Hudak K.A. (2016) The pokeweed leaf mRNA transcriptome and its regulation by jasmonic acid. Frontiers in Plant Science doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00283.

Krivdova G. and Hudak K.A. 2015. Pokeweed antiviral protein restores levels of cellular APOBEC3G during HIV-1 infection by depurinating Vif mRNA. Antiviral Research 122:51-54. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2015.08.007.

Klenov A., Neller K.C.M., Burns L.A., Krivdova G. and Hudak K.A. 2015. A small RNA targets pokeweed antiviral protein transcript. Physiologia Plantarum, doi: 10.1111/ppl.12393.