Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plant Parasite 'Wiretaps' Host

Date:
August 4, 2008
Source:
University of California - Davis
Summary:
A parasitic plant that sucks water and nutrients from its plant host also taps into its communications traffic, a new report finds. The research could lead to new ways to combat parasites that attack crop plants.

Dodder vines on a tomato plant. The white flowers are dodder. New research shows that chemical signals from the host, called RNA, plant pass deep into the parasite.
Credit: Neelima Sinha/UC Davis photo

A parasitic plant that sucks water and nutrients from its plant host also taps into its communications traffic, a new report finds. The research could lead to new ways to combat parasites that attack crop plants.

Professor Neelima Sinha and colleagues at the UC Davis Section of Plant Biology studied dodder vines growing on tomato plants in the lab. They found that RNA molecules from the host could be found in the dodder up to a foot (30 cm) from the point where the parasite had plumbed itself into the host.

Plants often use small RNA molecules as messengers between different parts of the plant. In a paper published in Science in 2001, Sinha's group showed that RNA could travel from a graft into the rest of the plant and affect leaf shape. Plants can also use specific RNAs to fight off viruses.

Picking up these RNA messengers could help the parasite synchronize its lifecycle with that of the host plant, Sinha said.

"It might be important for the parasite to know when the host is flowering, so it can flower at the same time," before the host dies, she said.

Sinha's lab holds a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to research plant parasites, notably Striga, which attacks maize crops in Africa. Striga cannot be imported into the U.S., so dodder serves as a model system.

Ultimately, the researchers hope to use host RNA to trigger a change in the parasite that kills it or makes it less damaging, Sinha said. Finding that host RNA molecules are transported through the parasite is a step in characterizing the system, she said.

A paper describing the work is published online by the journal New Phytology. Co-authors on the paper are UC Davis postdoctoral researcher Rakefet David-Schwartz, graduate students Steven Runo and Brad Townsley, and Jesse Machuka of Kenyatta University, Kenya.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis. "Plant Parasite 'Wiretaps' Host." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731140231.htm>.
University of California - Davis. (2008, August 4). Plant Parasite 'Wiretaps' Host. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731140231.htm
University of California - Davis. "Plant Parasite 'Wiretaps' Host." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731140231.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins