Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and Washington State University (WSU) have identified a protein that allows the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum responsible for white mould stem rot in more than 600 plant species to overcome plant defences.
Yeast engineered to produce polygalacturonase-inhibiting proteins that inhibit plant fungal diseases [Full subscriber]
Researchers at the University of California – Riverside describe a way to engineer a protein that blocks fungi from breaking down cell walls and produce this protein in quantity for external application as a natural fungicide. The work could lead to a new way of controlling plant disease that reduces reliance on conventional fungicides.
Promoting probiotic bacteria in soil to reduce infection from harmful microbes [Registered]
Fungi and other filamentous microbes called oomycetes cause many devastating plant diseases and are together responsible for more than 10% of all crop loss. A ground-breaking new study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research now shows that even healthy plants host potentially harmful fungi and oomycetes in plant roots.
Researchers identify plant sensors that detect pathogens [Registered]
In a study published in eLife, the team led by Professor Mark Banfield, in collaboration with the Iwate Biotechnology Research Centre (Japan) and The Sainsbury Laboratory (UK), investigated how one sensor protein from rice called Pik binds with AVR-Pik, a protein from the rice blast pathogen. This fungus causes the most devastating disease of rice crops. Using X-ray crystallography facilities at Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire, the team succeeded in imaging the contact points between the plant and pathogen proteins at the molecular level – the first time this has been done for a pair of plant and pathogen proteins that follow the gene-for-gene model.
Scientists identify novel defence against plant pathogens [Registered]
Pathogens target key parts of a plant’s defence machinery in their attempt to suppress an immune response. Plants have evolved to display these targets on receptors that are primed to set off their alarm system. When the pathogen binds, the receptor starts the process of shutting down the cell to contain the pathogen and stop it from spreading.