Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Understanding Plants' Overactive Immune System Will Help Researchers Build Better Crops

Date:
May 29, 2009
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
A plant's immune system protects the plant from harmful pathogens. If the system overreacts to pathogens, it can stunt plant growth and reduce seed production. Now, researchers have identified important suppressors that negatively regulate the responses of the immune system in the plant species Arabidopsis thaliana. Understanding the immune system of plants would allow breeders to create better yielding crop plants.

Wild-type Arabidopsis (left) and srfr1-3 mutant with constitutively activated pathogen defenses and severely reduced biomass (upper right).
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Missouri-Columbia

A plant's immune system protects the plant from harmful pathogens. If the system overreacts to pathogens, it can stunt plant growth and reduce seed production. Now, University of Missouri researchers have identified important suppressors that negatively regulate the responses of the immune system in the plant species Arabidopsis thaliana. Understanding the immune system of plants would allow breeders to create better yielding crop plants.

Related Articles


"The immune system provides plants with strong protection from pathogens," said Walter Gassmann, associate professor of plant sciences in the MU Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. "However, this response has the potential to be highly deleterious to the plant and needs to be tightly controlled. Certain suppressors protect the plant from responding to harmless stimuli and from overreacting to pathogens. If there is a mutation in these suppressors, the immune system can actually do more damage than good."

One way that plants fight pathogens is through effector-triggered immunity (ETI), which relies on the detection of pathogen effector proteins (proteins that are deployed by pathogens to interfere with the plant immune system). After the detection of a pathogen, specific proteins in the plant, known as resistance proteins, elicit an effective defense response. The plants' resistance proteins are regulated by suppressors to achieve minimal side effects to the plant while providing optimal responses to pathogens. However, when the ETI is overly activated, it can cause stunted growth and poor seed production.

In the study, MU researchers examined plants with genetic mutations that resulted in heightened plant immunity. By examining this mutation, researchers were able to identify specific genetic components that may negatively regulate the immune system and thus contribute to an appropriate immune response.

"The general control of effector-triggered signaling is poorly understood," Gassmann said. "Better insight into the immune system response will allow us to develop plants with more durable safeguards against pathogens."

Gassmann's research has been published recently in The Plant Journal and Plant Signaling & Behavior. The papers were co-authored by former post-doctoral researcher Soon Il Kwon, current graduate student Sang Hee Kim, current post-doctoral researcher Saikat Bhattacharjee, and former visiting scientist Jae-Jong Noh.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Understanding Plants' Overactive Immune System Will Help Researchers Build Better Crops." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090527121045.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2009, May 29). Understanding Plants' Overactive Immune System Will Help Researchers Build Better Crops. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090527121045.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Understanding Plants' Overactive Immune System Will Help Researchers Build Better Crops." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090527121045.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Learn how to make a mixed green salad topped with a pan-seared camembert cheese in only a minute! Music: Courtesy of Audio Network. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Buzz60 (Jan. 26, 2015) Swiss scientists build a new drone that can both fly and walk, modeling it after the movements of common vampire bats. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. 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