Juan Jurat-Fuentas2.web.jpg

Office Location: 328 Plant Biotechnology Building

Office Phone: 865-974-5931

E-Mail: jurat@utk.edu

Webpage: http://web.utk.edu/~jurat/



Ph.D., University of Georgia. Major: Entomology

M.S., Universitat de València (Spain). Major: Genetics

B.S., Universitat de València (Spain). Major: Biology



Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Toxin Mode of Action

Resistance to B. thuringiensis and Transgenic Bt Crops

Toxin Receptors and Molecular Markers

Insect Gut Homeostasis

Insect Cellulases

Proteomics and Functional Genomics

Insect Cell Culture



Research Description:

Our research is focused on the physiology of the insect gut, particularly the molecular characterization of interactions between the gut epithelium and insecticidal Cry proteins produced by the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), the identification of novel enzymes for biofuel production, and the characterization of the gut regenerative response after pathogenic attack.
Main areas of research in our lab include:
1)    Characterization of the mode of action of Cry toxins and mechanisms of resistance against these toxins in diverse insect orders. This project includes the identification of Cry toxin receptors, the characterization of the physiological response to intoxication in insects, as well as the mechanisms of resistance insects develop to survive Cry intoxication.
2)     Characterization of the insect gut regenerative response after Cry intoxication and the role of this mechanism in resistance to Cry toxins in Lepidoptera. Our efforts are concentrated on identifying growth factors involved in the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells to overcome gut epithelium damage after exposure to Cry toxins.
3)    Screening for the identification of novel cellulases in insects with potential use in production of cellulosic ethanol. We are actively screening and identifying novel cellulolytic systems from insect digestive fluids to make cellulosic ethanol a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels.
Results from these research projects have direct application in biotechnology, cell culturing, bioenergy, design of novel insecticides, improvement of insect pathogens as biological pest control agents, and the inhibition of disease transmission by vector insects.
Please visit our website (web.utk.edu/~jurat/) if you would like to know more about our lab.



Representative Publications:

Trigiano. Genetic mapping of resistance to powdery mildew in Cornus florida. (in review).

Brosnan J. T., G. K. Breeden, J.J. Vargas, R. N. Trigiano, S. L. Boggess, and M. E. Staton. Confirmation and control of annual bluegrass resistant to photosystem II inhibiting herbicides. Intl. Turfgrass Soc. Res. J. (in review).


or, E.H., J.T. Brosnan, R.N. Trigiano, J.E. Elsner, G.M. Henry, and B.M. Schwartz. The genetic and phenotypic variability of hybrid bermudagrasses used on golf course putting greens. Planta (in review).


iano, R. N., E.C. Bernard, M.T. Windham, A.S. Windham, T.P. Edwards and S.L. Boggess. 2016. First report of powdery mildew on henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) and dead-nettle (L. purpureum) caused by Neoërysiphe galeopsidis in the southern United States. Plant Dis. (in press).


sah, J. N., P. A. Wadl, D. Hadziabdic, S. L. Boggess and R. N. Trigiano. 2016. Characterization of thirteen microsatellite loci from the Ghanian antimalarial plant Cryptolepis sanguinolenta. J. Med. Plant Res. 10(14):183-187.

Gray, D. J., Z. T. Li, N. L. Grant, D. A., Dean, R.N. Trigiano and S.A. Dhekney. 2016. The application of precision breeding (PB) for crop improvement is fully consistent with the plant life cycle: The utility of PB for grapevine. Acta. Hort. DOI:10.17660/Actahortic.1115:49-56.


iano, R.N., A. S. Windham, M. T. Windham and P.A. Wadl. 2016. ‘Appalachian Joy’: A supernumery white-bracted cultivar of Cornus florida with powdery mildew resistance. HortScience 51(in press).

Gray, D. J., Z. T. Li, N. L. Grant, D. A., Dean, R.N. Trigiano, D.R. Bergey and S.A. Dhekney. 2016. La selection vegetale de precision pour la mise au point de nouveaux cepages. Revue des Oenologues No 157 spécial. January 2016.


iano, R. N., E. Bernard, D. Hadziabdic, A. J. Dattilo and P. A. Wadl. 2016. First report of powdery mildew on whorled sunflower (Helianthus verticillatus) caused by Golovinomyces ambrosae. Plant Dis. 100(5):1017.

Moore, P.A., P. A. Wadl, J. A. Skinner, R. N. Trigiano, E. C. Bernard, W. E. Klingeman and A. J. Dattilo. 2016. Review of endangered Pityposis ruthii. Bull. Torrey Bot. 143(2): 117-134.


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