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Thomas J. Wolpert

Tom Wolpert

Ph.D., 1983, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN


Faculty of Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing

Office/Lab: Cordley 3069/3068
Phone: 541-737-5293/5282

Research Area

Biochemistry and molecular biology of host-parasite interactions.

Description of Research

We are attempting to understand the interactions that occur between a plant host and its microbial parasite at the molecular level. Specifically, we are investigating diseases caused by fungal pathogens which produce host-selective toxins. Because of the unique specificity of these compounds, they offer a clearly definable biochemical point of entry into complex parasitic associations. Using this approach we are identifying specific genes and their products which appear to contribute to fungal pathogenesis and host disease resistance and susceptibility and to describe the physiological responses that underly these plant responses.

Research Group Members

Faculty Research Assistants/Associates

Jennifer Lorang

Graduate Students



BOT 551 Molecular Basis of Plant Pathogenesis

MCB 511 Research Perspectives

MCB 525 Techniques in Molecular and Cellular Biology


Macko, V., M.B. Stimmel, T.J. Wolpert, L.D. Dunkle, W. Acklin, R. Banteli, B.Jaun and D. Arigoni. 1992. Structure of the host-specific toxins produced by the fungal pathogen Periconia circinata. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 89:9574-9578.

Wolpert, T.J., D.A. Navarre, D.L. Moore and V. Macko. 1994. Identification of the 100-kD victorin binding protein from oats. Plant Cell 6:1145-1155.

Navarre, D.A. and T.J. Wolpert. 1995. Inhibition of the glycine decarboxylase multienzyme complex by the host-selective toxin, victorin. Plant Cell 7:463-471. Mol. Plant Microb. Inter. 8:41-48.

Wolpert, T.J., D.A. Navarre, J.M. Lorang and D.L. Moore. 1996. Evaluation of the glycine decarboxylase complex as the possible site of action of victorin. Pages 245-256 in Molecular Aspects of Pathogenicity and Resistance: Requirement for Signal Transduction, D. Mills, H. Kunoh, N.T. Keen and S. Mayama (eds). APS Press, St. Paul, MN

Wolpert, T.J., D.A. Navarre and J.M. Lorang. (1998). Victorin-induced oat cell death. In Molecular Genetics of Host-Specific Toxins in Plant Disease. Eds K. Kohmoto and O.C. Yoder. (Kluwer Academic Publishers) pp. 105-114.

Navarre, D.A. and T. J. Wolpert (1999). Victorin induction of an apoptotic/senescence-like response in oats. Plant Cell 11:237-249.  

Wolpert, T.J., W.C. Coffeen, M.J. Curtis and J.M. Lorang. 2001.  Victorin, Apoptosis and the Mitochondrion. In Delivery and Perception of Pathogen Signals in Plants: N.T. Keen, S. Mayama, J. Leach, S. Tsuyumu eds (APS Press, St. Paul, MN) pp. 97-111.

Rahman M., C.C. Mundt, T.J. Wolpert and O.R. Lizarazu. 2001. Sensitivity of Wheat Genotypes to a Toxic Fraction Produced by Cephalosporium gramineum and Correlation with Disease Susceptibility. 
Phytopathology 91:702-707.

Lorang J. M., R. P. Tuori, J. P. Martinez, T. L. Sawyer, R. S. Redman, J. A. Rollins, T.J. Wolpert, K.B. Johnson, R. J. Rodriguez, M. B.Dickman and L. M. Ciuffetti. 2001. Green Fluorescent Protein is Lighting up Fungal Biology. Appl. Envir. Microbiol. 67:1987-1994.