Skip to navigation Skip to content

Kathryn Wright

Staff picture: Kathryn Wright
Cell and Molecular Sciences
Cell and Molecular Sciences
Senior Postdoctoral Research Scientist
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK


My work involves the application of imaging and cell biology techniques to investigate the interactions between pathogens and plants.

Current research interests

  • The colonisation of plants by human pathogenic bacteria.E. coli bacteria on a basil cotyledon

In collaboration with Nicola Holden, I am investigating the colonisation of young plants marketted as micro-herbs or microgreens, by Escherichia coli O157:H7 Sakai. Our work has shown that if seeds germinate in the presence of low numbers of bacteria the young plants, e.g. basil, become extensively colonised by bacteria, most being present on the surface of the leaf tissue, but others within the leaf interior. This highlights that micro-herbs represent a potential hazard of contamination by food-borne pathogens, and to mitigate the risk, they should be considered in the same manner as sprouted seeds.

3D image of E. coli within a N. benthamiana leafOnce inside a leaf of a susceptible species for example Nicotiana benthamiana, E. coli Sakai can form E. coli bacteria within a spinach leaflarge colonies showing characteristics of biofilm formation including production of curli and extracellular DNA. In other species including spinach and lettuce, the bacteria can only be found in small numbers and do not appear to proliferate.  


  • The localisation of effectors secreted by potato cyst nematodes into their host.
  • The colonisation of potato by Pectobacterium atrosepticum

Past research

  • Using an in vivo staining method I investigated susceptible and resistant interactions between the pathogen Rhynchosporium secalis and barley.Rhynchosporium growing on barley cultivar Atlas
  • With colleagues  I have investigated the role of TGB 1 movement protein in the movement of Potato mop top virus and the mechanism by which Tobacco mosaic virus- movement protein moves from its site of synthesis to the plasmodesmata.
  • Using the Arabidopsis root as a model system I also investigated the phloem mobility of fluorescent xenobiotics and examined the long distance movement of macromolecules with particular reference to their unloading from the phloem.


  • Wright, K.M.; MacKenzie, K.M. (2014) Probing protein targeting to plasmodesmata using fluorescence recovery after photo-bleaching., In: Heinlein, M. (ed.). Plasmodesmata, Methods in Molecular Biology. (Methods and Protocols, Volume 1217). Chapter 17, pp259-274.
  • Holden, N.; Pritchard, L.; Toth, I.K.; Wright, K.M. (2013) Mechanism of plant colonisation by human pathogenic enterobacteria: an emphasis on the roots and rhizosphere., In: de Bruijn, F. (ed.). Molecular Microbial Ecology of the Rhizosphere. Wiley Blackwell, Hoboken, New Jersey, Volume 2, Chapter 117, pp1217-1226.
  • Wright, K.M.; Oparka, K.J. (2006) The ER within plasmodesmata., In: Robinson, D.G. (ed.). The Plant Endoplasmic Reticulum. Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, pp279-308.
  • Oparka, K.J.; Viola, R.; Wright, K.M.; Prior, D.A.M. (1992) Sugar transport and metabolism in potato tubers., In: Farrar, J.F., Gordon, A.J. & Pollock, G.J. (eds.). Carbon Partitioning Within and Between Organisms. BIOS Scientific Publishers, Oxford, pp91-114.
  • Wright, K.M.; Oparka, K.J. (1991) Sugar uptake and metabolism in sink and source potato tubers., In: Bonnemain, J.L., Delrot, S., Lucas, W.J. & Dainty, J. (eds.). Recent Advances in Phloem Transport and Assimilate Compartmentation. Quest Edition, Presses Academique, Nantes, pp258-264.

  • Wright, K.M.; Wood, N.T.; MacKenzie, K.; Oparka, K.J. (2003) Studying plasmodesmatal targeting of TMV-MP using FRAP., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2002/2003, pp97.
  • Wright, K.M.; Roberts, A.G.; Martens, H.J.; Sauer, N.; Oparka, K.J. (2002) Phloem development and function probed with a companion-cell marker., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2001/2002, pp118-121.
  • Wright, K.M.; Santa, Cruz, S. (2000) Life at the edge - imaging the hypersensitive response induced by TMV., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 1999/2000, pp136-139.
  • Wright, K.M.; Oparka, K.J. (1997) Predicting the phloem mobility of xenobiotics., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 1996/97, pp112-116.
  • Wright, K.M.; Oparka, K.J.; Prior, D.A.M. (1994) Uptake and compartmentation of xenobiotics in plant cells., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 1994, pp84-88.
  • Oparka, K.J.; Wright, K.M.; Prior, D.A.M. (1990) The sink to source transition in potato tubers., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 1990, pp36-40.

Printed from /staff/kathryn-wright on 26/09/21 02:23:54 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.