Plant Pathology Graduate Program

Caroline Roper

Caroline Roper
Office: 951-827-3510
3489 Boyce Hall, University of California 92521
Office Hours: , not specified - not specified
Email: caroline.roper@ucr.edu

Caroline Roper

Associate Professor and Associate Plant Pathologist
Bacteriologist, Plant Pathologist

Ph.D. 2006, University of California, Davis, Department of Plant Pathology
B.S. in Biology 1997, University of South Carolina

Biography & Research Interests

My research program focuses on the molecular basis of the host/pathogen interactions of plant pathogenic bacteria that live in the specialized niche of the plant xylem tissue. We are focusing our efforts on understanding the strategies this group of plant pathogens employs during the initial stages of infection. In particular, I am working on Xylella fastidiosa, a serious bacterial pathogen of grapevine and citrus among other economically important hosts as well as Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii, an important pathogen of sweet corn and maize.


  • Hellman Fellow 2012-2103
  • Regent's Faculty fellowship 2009
  • Soroptomist International of the Americas: Outstanding Woman Pursuing a Doctoral Degree Fellowship, 2005 


Rapicavoli, J.N., Blanco-Ulate, B., Muszyński, A, Figueroa-Balderas, R., Morales-Cruz, A. Azadi, P., Dobruchowska, J., Castro, C., Cantu, D. and Roper, M.C*. 2018. Lipopolysaccharide O-antigen delays plant innate immune recognition of Xylella fastidiosa, Nature Communications, 26: 9(1): 390.

Ginnan, N. A., Dang, T., Bodaghi, S., Ruegger, P.M., Peacock, B. B., McCollum, G., England, G., Vidalakis, G., Roper, M.C*., Rolshausen. P. and Borneman, J.   2018. Bacterial and Fungal Next Generation Sequencing Datasets and Metadata from Citrus Infected with ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’, Phytobiomes, In Press, https://doi.org/10.1094/PBIOMES-08-17-0032-A. * Co-corresponding author with Drs. Vidalakis, Rolshausen and Borneman.

Rapicavoli, J., Ingel, B. Blanco-Ulate, Cantu D. and Roper, M.C.*, 2018. Xylella fastidiosa:An examination of a re-emerging plant pathogen. Molecular Plant Pathology, 19 (4): 786-800.

Deyett, E., Ruegger, P., Yang, J.I., Borneman, K., Roper, M.C and Rolshausen, P. 2017. Microbial Landscape of the Grapevine Endosphere in the Context of Pierce’s Disease. Phytobiomes, 1:138-139.

Wen, J., Viravathana, P. Ingel, B. Roper, M.C and Tsutsui, H. 2017. Polydiacetlyene-Coated Sensor Strip for Immunochromatic Detection of Xylella fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa. Journal of Laboratory Automation, SLAS Technology 22(4) 406-412.

Rapicavoli, J.R., Kinsinger, N., Perring, T., Backus, E., Shugart, H. Walker, S. and Roper, M.C.* 2015. O-antigen Modulates Insect Vector Acquisition of the Bacterial Plant Pathogen, Xylella fastidiosa. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 81 (23): 8145-8154. This paper was chosen for inclusion in AEM Spotlight. Spotlight highlights meritorious manuscripts of broad interest. This article was also featured on the Journal cover.

 Roper M.C*., Burbank, L.P., Williams, K., Viravathana, P., Tien H.Y., and von Bodman, S. 2015. A large repetitive RTX-like protein mediates water-soaked lesion development, leakage of plant cell content and host colonization in the Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii pathosystem. Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions, 28 (12): 1374-1382.

Aldrich, T.J., Rolshausen, P.E., Roper, M.C., Reader, J.M., Steinhaus, M.J., Rapicavoli, J., Vosburg, D.A., Maloney, K.M. 2015. Radicinin from Cochliobolus sp. inhibits Xylella fastidiosa, the causal agent of Pierce’s Disease of grapevine. Phytochemistry, 116:130-137.

Burbank, L., Mohammadi, M., Roper, M.C.* 2015. Siderophore-mediated iron acquisition influences motility and is required for full virulence for the xylem-dwelling bacterial phytopathogen, Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 81(1):139-48.

Editors: Nian Wang, University of Florida, M. Caroline Roper, University of California, Riverside, Saskia Hogenhout, John Innes Center, George Sundin, Michigan State University, Frank White, Kansas State University, Jeffrey Jones, University of Florida. 2015. Virulence Mechanisms of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria. American Phytopathological Society Press, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Cantu, D., Roper, M.C., Powell, A., Labavitch, J.M. 2015. Problematic crops: 1. Grape: To long life and good health: untangling the complexity of grape diseases to develop pathogen resistant varieties. Biotechnology for Plant Disease Control. Editor: David Collinge. Wiley.

 Roper, M.C.* and Lindow, S. 2015. Xylella fastidiosa: Insights into the lifestyle of a xylem-limited bacterium. In: Virulence Mechanisms of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria. Editors: Leonardo de la Fuente, Nian Wang. American Phytopathological Society Press, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Kogenaru, S.,Yan, Q., Riera, N, Roper M.C., Deng, X., Ebert, T.A., Rogers, M., Irey, M.E., Pietersen, G, Rush, C.M., Wang, N. 2014. Repertoire of novel sequence signatures for the detection of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus by quantitative real-time PCR. BMC Microbiology, 171(4): 39. doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-39.

Burbank, L. and Roper, M.C.* 2014.  OxyR and SoxR modulate the inducible oxidative stress response and are implicated during different stages of infection for the bacterial phytopathogen, Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii. Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions, 27(5): 479-490.

Clifford, J.C, Rapicavoli, J.N. and Roper, M.C. 2013. A rhamnose-rich O-antigen mediates adhesion, virulence and host colonization for the xylem-limited phytopathogen, Xylella fastidiosa.  Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions, In press.

Voegel T.M., Doddapaneni H., Cheng D.W., Lin H., Stenger D.C., Kirkpatrick BC, Roper, M.C. 2012.  Identification of a response regulator involved in surface attachment, cell-cell aggregation, exopolysaccharide production and virulence in the plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa. Molecular Plant Pathology, doi: 10.1111/mpp.12004. [Epub ahead of print].

Mohammadi, M., Burbank, L., and Roper, M.C. 2012. Biological role of pigment production for the bacterial phytopathogen, Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78: 6859-6865

Mohammadi, Mojtaba, Burbank, L. and Roper, M. C. 2012. Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii produces an endoglucanase that is required for full virulence in sweet corn. Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions, 25: 463-470.

Roper, M.C. 2011. Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii: Lessons learned from a xylem-dwelling pathogen of sweet corn. Molecular Plant Pathology, 12: 628-637.

Perez-Donoso, A.G., Sun, Q., Roper, C., Greve, L.C. and Labavitch, J.M. 2009. Cell wall degrading enzymes enlarge the pore size of intervessel pit membranes in healthy and Xylella fastidiosa infected grapevines. Plant Physiology, 152(3): 1748-59.

Roper, M.C. Greve, L.C., Labavitch, J.M. and Kirkpatrick, B. 2007. Detection and visualization of an exopolysaccharide produced by Xylella fastidiosa in vitro and in planta. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 73: 7252-7258.

Roper, M.C., Greve, L.C., Warren, J.G.,  Labavitch, J.M., and Kirkpatrick, B. 2007. Xylella fastidiosa requires polygalacturonase for colonization and pathogenicity in grapevines. Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions, 20: 411-419.

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