Prof Sek Man WONG

Department of Biological Science National University of Singapore 14 Science Drive 4 Singapore 117543 Tel: 65162976 Fax:67792486 curriculum vitae email: Lab website: Wong's Lab

Research Areas:

Plant pathology, virology, molecular biology, structural biology, biotechnology, nanotechnology.

Research Interests:

>Molecular biology of plant viruses, discovery of new viruses, virus replication and translation mechanisms, rapid and sensitive detection of viruses, synergism in virus-virus and virus-host Interactions, virus novel gene functions, protein expression using plant viral vectors, virus resistant transgenic plants, structural biology and bioinformatics of viruses, use of plant viruses as nano-materials for drug delivery, RNA interference.

Current Projects:

Development of plant viral vectors  Our laboratory has synthesized several full-length biologically active cDNA clones of plant viruses, namely the ageratum yellow vein virus (AYVV), cymbidium mosaic virus (CymMV), odontoglossum ringspot virus (ORSV), and hibiscus chlorotic ringspot virus (HCRSV). Currently we are making full-length biologically active cDNA clone to melon necrotic spot virus (MNSV).

Investigation of novel viral genes of HCRSV and HLSV We have discovered two novel viral open reading frames (ORFs) in HCRSV, namely the p23 and the p27 ORFs. The p23 is required for virus replication and the p27 is responsible for symptom severity. We are now expressing the p23 and investigating its function. We are also working on the function of the internal poly(A) tract in translation and replication of HLSV.

Production of virus-resistant transgenic orchids We are now working towards producing virus-resistant transgenic orchids and watermelons. From our orchid virus sequence survey, we found that coat protein sequences of two prevalent viruses, namely the CymMV and ORSV, share high sequence homology. This information is crucial to the successful production of virus resistant plants.

Research Accomplishments:

  • Determination of full-length sequences and generation of biologically-active cDNA clones of two most prevalent orchid viruses - CymMV and ORSV.
  • Discovery of two novel open reading frames from HCRSV and a polyA tract in HLSV.
  • Molecular characterization of AYVV, CMV and ZYMV.
  • Successful application of non-radioactive cRNA probes, polymerase chain reaction, capillary electrophoresis, molecular beacons and quartz crystal microbalance for plant virus detection.