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Anna Avrova

Programme: Plant Pathology


DD2 5DA,
Scotland, United Kingdom.

Tel: +44(0) 1382 562731 (switchboard)


Image of Anna AvrovaRecent Publications | Posters

Current Research

A major focus of my research at SCRI is the development of functional genomics to advance identification and functional characterisation of Rhynchosporium secalis pathogenicity factors crucial for its survival on the leaf surface, penetration and establishment of a compatible interaction with the host plant barley. Genes found to be crucial for the successful infection of barley represent good targets for host plant recognition to protect itself. Some pathogenicity determinants may also represent efficient fungicide targets if they are essential for the core biology of the pathogen during infection.

Active areas of research:

  • genome and transcriptome sequencing
  • transcription profiling of R. secalis genes in pre-infection stages and in planta
  • functional characterisation of pathogenicity factors using specific knock-outs and complementation or silencing

Current Contract Research Activities

  • Barley Pathology (WP1.4):  Scottish Government - Profitable and Sustainable Agriculture - Plants.
  • Whole genome and interaction transcriptome sequencing of the barley pathogen R. secalis: RERAD Contract Research Fund.

Research History

  • October 2008-present:  Senior Scientific Officer, Plant Pathology Programme, SCRI - barley molecular pathologist.
  • 2004-2008:  Senior Post Doc, Plant Pathology Programme, SCRI - functional characterisation of appressoria and infection stage-specific proteins from Phytophtora infestans using dsRNA induced transient gene silencing.
  • 2001-2004: Post Doc, Plant-Pathogen Interactions, SCRI - molecular bases of P. infestans pathogenicity and host resistance.
  • 1998-2000: Post Doc, Fungal and Bacterial Plant Pathology Department, SCRI - bacterial pathogen of potato Pectobacterium atrosepticum and resistance to P. atrosepticum and P. infestans in potato.
  • 1997-1998 - NATO Royal Society post-doctoral fellow, Fungal and Bacterial Plant Pathology Department, SCRI - Mechanisms of Solanum spp. resistance to P. atrosepticum and P. infestans.
  • 1996-1997:  Royal Society postdoctoral fellow, Department of Crop and Disease Management, IACR Rothamsted - tomato interaction with the symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus mosseae and the pathogenic oomycete Phytophthora nocotianae var. parasitica.
  • 1994-1998: Scientific Officer, Department of Phytotoxicology, All Russia Institute of Plant Protection - biochemical characterisation of tomato - Alternaria solani interaction and in vitro selection of tomato plants for resistance to early blight.


  • MSc with Distinction (Biotechnology), St Petersburg, Russia, 1990
  • PhD (Plant Protection from pests and diseases), St Petersburg, Russia, 1994

Recent Publications

  • Haas, B.J., Kamoun, S., Zody, M.C., Jiang, R.H., Handsaker, R.E., Cano, L.M., Grabherr, M., Kodira, C.D., Raffaele, S., Torto-Alalibo, T., Bozkurt, T.O., Ah-Fong, A.M., Alvarado, L., Anderson, V.L., Armstrong, M.R., Avrova, A., Baxter, L., Beynon, J., Boevink, P.C., Bollmann, S.R., Bos, J.I., Bulone, V., Cai, G., Cakir, C., Carrington, J.C., Chawner, M., Conti, L., Costanzo, S., Ewan, R., Fahlgren, N., Fischbach, M.A., Fugelstad, J., Gilroy, E.M., Gnerre, S., Green, P.J., Grenville-Briggs, L.J., Griffith, J., Grünwald, N.J., Horn, K., Horner, N.R., Hu, C.H., Huitema, E., Jeong, D.H., Jones, A.M., Jones, J.D., Jones, R.W., Karlsson, E.K., Kunjeti, S.G., Lamour, K., Liu, Z., Ma, L., Maclean, D., Chibucos, M.C., McDonald, H., McWalters, J., Meijer, H.J., Morgan, W., Morris, P.F., Munro, C.A., O'Neill, K., Ospina-Giraldo, M., Pinzón, A., Pritchard, L., Ramsahoye, B., Ren, Q., Restrepo, S., Roy, S., Sadanandom, A., Savidor, A., Schornack, S., Schwartz, D.C., Schumann, U.D., Schwessinger, B., Seyer, L., Sharpe, T., Silvar, C., Song, J., Studholme, D.J., Sykes, S., Thines, M., van de Vondervoort, P.J., Phuntumart, V., Wawra, S., Weide, R., Win, J., Young, C., Zhou, S., Fry, W., Meyers, B.C., van West, P., Ristaino, J., Govers, F., Birch, P.R., Whisson, S.C., Judelson, H.S., Nusbaum, C. 2009. Genome sequence and analysis of the Irish potato famine pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Nature 461, 393-398.
  • Avrova, A., Boevink, P., Young, V., Grenville-Briggs, L.J., van West, P., Birch, P.R.J. and Whisson, S.C. 2008. A novel Phytophthora infestans haustorium-specific membrane protein is required for infection of potato. Cellular Microbiology 10, 2271-2284.
  • Grenville-Briggs, L.J., Anderson, V.L., Fugelstad, J., Avrova, A.O., Bouzenzana, J., Williams, A., Wawra, S., Whisson, S.C., Birch, P.R.J., Bulone, V. and van West, P. 2008. Cellulose synthesis in Phytophthora infestans is required for appressorium formation and successful infection of potat,o. Plant Cell 20, 720-738.
  • Walker, C.L., Köppe, M., Grenville-Briggs, L.J., Avrova, A.O., Horner, N.R., Whisson, S.C., Birch, P.R.J. and van West, P. 2008. A putative DEAD-box RNA-helicase is required for normal zoospore development in the potato late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Fungal Genetics and Biology 45, 954-962.
  • Judelson, H.S., Ah-Fong, A.M.V., Aux, G., Avrova, A.O., Bruce, C., Cakir, C., da Cunha, L., Grenville-Briggs, L., Latijnhouwers, M., Ligterink, W., Meijer, H.J.G., Roberts, S., Thurber, C.S., Whisson, S.C., Birch, P.R.J., Govers, F., Kamoun, S., van West, P. and Windass, J. 2008. Gene Expression profiling during the asexual development of the late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans reveals a highly dynamic transcriptome. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 21, 433-447.
  • Grouffaud, S., van West, P., Avrova, A.O., Birch, P.R.J. and Whisson, S.C. 2008. Plasmodium falciparum and Hyaloperonospora parasitica effector translocation motifs are functional in Phytophthora infestans. Microbiology 154, 3743-3751.
  • Whisson, S.C., Boevink, P.C., Moleleki, L. , Avrova,  A.O., Morales, J.G., Gilroy, E.M., Armstrong,  M.R.,  Grouffaud, S., van West, P., Chapman, S., Hein, I., Toth, I.K., Pritchard, L. and Birch, P.R.J. 2007. A translocation signal for delivery of oomycete effector proteins into host plant cells. Nature 450, 115-118. (doi:10.1038/nature06203)
  • Avrova, A.O., Whisson, S.C., Venter, E., De Luca, S., Hein, I., Pritchard, L., Beynon, J., Birch, P.R.J. 2006. A novel, non-protein coding infection-specific gene family is clustered throughout the genome of Phytophthora infestans. Microbiology 153, 747-759.
  • Armstrong, M.R., Whisson, S.C., Pritchard, L., Bos, J.I.B., Venter, E., Avrova, A.O., Rehmany, A.P., Böhme, U., Brooks, K., Cherevach, I., Hamlin, N., White, B., Fraser, A., Lord, A., Quail, M., Churcher, C., Hall, N., Berriman, M., Huang, S., Kamoun, S., Beynon, J.L., Birch, P.R.J. 2005. An Ancestral Oomycete Locus Contains Late Blight Avirulence Gene Avr3a, Encoding a Protein that is Recognised in the Host Cytoplasm. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 102, 7766-7771.
  • Whisson, S.C., Avrova, A.O., van West, P., Jones, J.T. 2005. A method for double-stranded RNA-mediated transient gene silencing in Phytophthora infestans. Molecular Plant Pathology 6, 153-163.
  • Whisson, S.C., Avrova, A.O., Lavrova, O., Pritchard, L. 2005. Families of short interspersed elements (SINEs) in the genome of the Oomycete plant pathogen, Phytophthora infestans. Fungal Genetic Biology 42, 351-365.
  • Grenville-Briggs, L.J., Avrova, A.O., Bruce, C.R., Williams, A., Whisson, S.C., Birch, P.R.J., van West, P. 2005. Elevated amino acid biosynthesis in Phytophthora infestans during appressorium formation and potato infection. Fungal Genetic Biology 42, 244-256.
  • Liu, Z., Bos, J., Armstrong, M., Whisson, S.C., da Cunha, L., Torto, T., Win, J., Avrova, A.O., Wright, F., Birch, P.R.J., Kamoun, S. 2005.  Patterns of diversifying selection in the phytotoxin-like scr74 gene family of Phytophthora infestans. Molecular Biology and Evolution 22, 659-672.
  • Holeva, M.C., Bell, K.S., Hyman, L.J., Avrova, A.O., Whisson, S.C., Birch, P.R.J. and Toth, I.K. 2004. Use of a pooled transposon mutation grid to demonstrate roles in disease development for Erwinia carotovora subsp. atroseptica putative type III secreted effector (DspE/A) and helper (HrpN) proteins. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interacttions 17, 943-950.
  • Avrova, A., Taleb, N., Rokka, V.-M., Heilbronn, J., Campbell, E., Hein, I., Gilroy, E., Cardle, L., Bradshaw, J.E., Stewart, H.E., Jauffeerally-Fakim, Y., Loake, G. and Birch, P.R.J. 2004. Potato oxysterol binding protein and cathepsin B are rapidly up-regulated in independent defence pathways that distinguish R gene-mediated and field resistances to Phytophthora infestans. Molecular Plant Pathology 5, 45-56.