Study unmasks key operatives in plant immunity battle
Long before nations devised complex military strategies, plants had their own built-in systems for thwarting potential attacks by disease-causing microbes.
Two new players in this mutual seek-and-destroy struggle between the plant and microbial worlds have been identified by an international team of researchers, including a plant scientist at the University of California, Davis.
Findings from the study are published online today in the journal Science.
“In this study, we showed that a biochemical process known as tyrosine phosphorylation is important to the plant’s immune signaling system,“ said study co-author Benjamin Schwessinger, a Human Frontier Science Program postdoctoral fellow in the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology. Schwessinger initiated the work when at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, U.K.
“Furthermore, we demonstrated that a certain plant receptor that recognizes the presence of the Pseudomonas syringae bacterium also becomes the target for a counterattack when that bacterium attempts to fight back and suppress the plant’s immune system,” he said.
Plants’ innate, or built-in, immunity relies on the ability of molecular receptors on the surface of the plant cells to identify specific groups of molecules on the invading microbe, or pathogen. When a plant cell receptor recognizes such a group of molecules, it triggers the plant’s immune response to swing into action and battle the invading pathogen.
In this study, using the Arabidopsis plant as a model, the researchers showed for the first time that tyrosine phosphorylation is an important part of the “molecular code” for how a plant immune receptor, known as EFR, signals the presence of the EF-TU protein on Pseudomonas syringae, a disease-causing bacterium that infects a wide range of plant species.
Attacking bacteria, not to be outwitted by the plant’s immune response, tend to launch something of a counter-offensive by injecting proteins inside the plant cell.
In this study, the researchers discovered that the Pseudomonas syringae bacterium delivers its counter-punch to the plant’s immune response in the form of an enzyme called HopAO1. The enzyme has been known to researchers for about a decade, but this study was the first to identify which molecules it targets inside the plant cell.
“In effect, the plant and the attacking bacteria battle to take control of the biochemical process that initiates the plant’s antibacterial immunity,” Schwessinger said.
- What to do now in regards to the 2014 Farm Bill
- Mistakes that hurt a farm's credit
- Mycogen Seeds introduces four new sunflower hybrids for 2015
- China cuts cotton import quotas to boost demand for its own fiber
- Hog futures the exception to bearish ag market rule Monday AM
- Gangster herbicide program update
- Despite USDA approval, Enlist trait faces hurdles
- Activist investor Peltz pushes DuPont to split itself
- USDA approves Dow’s Enlist corn, soybean traits
- Mapping technology help farmers understand soil
- Study shows differences in understanding sustainable agriculture
- Vilsack urged Buffett to ready BNSF for record crops
- U.S. GMO labeling foes triple spending in first half of this year
- Activists fighting Golden Rice even more in 2014
- Source shows half of GMO research is independent
- East-West Seed signs marketing collaboration with Monsanto
- White House issues veto threat on bill to block WOTUS rule
- USDA releases 2012 cash rents data report