Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Change in temperature uncovers genetic cross talk in plant immunity; Discovery sheds light on how plants fight off bacterial infections

Date:
December 6, 2010
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Researchers recently "tapped" into two proteins' communications with the nucleus and discovered a previously unknown level of cross talk. The discovery adds important new information about how plant proteins mediate resistance to bacteria that cause disease and may ultimately lead to novel strategies for boosting a plant's immune system.

Like us, plants rely on an immune system to fight off disease. Proteins that scout out malicious bacterial invaders in the cell and communicate their presence to the nucleus are important weapons in the plant's disease resistance strategy. Researchers at the University of Missouri recently "tapped" into two proteins' communications with the nucleus and discovered a previously unknown level of cross talk. The discovery adds important new information about how plant proteins mediate resistance to bacteria that cause disease and may ultimately lead to novel strategies for boosting a plant's immune system.

Related Articles


Special proteins in the plant, called resistance proteins, can recognize highly specific features of proteins from pathogen, called effector proteins. When a pathogen is detected, a resistance protein triggers an "alarm" that communicates the danger to the cell's nucleus. The communication between the resistance protein and nucleus occurs through a mechanism called a signaling pathway.

"The signaling pathway is like a telephone wire that stretches between each resistance protein all the way to the nucleus," said Walter Gassmann, senior author of the study and associate professor of plant sciences in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center at the University. "Until now, evidence suggested that, among certain classes of resistance proteins, these wires don't cross -- one resistance protein can't hear what another one is saying."

But in a recent study, Gassmann and his MU colleagues -- post-doctoral researchers Sang Hee Kim and Saikat Bhattacharjee, graduate students Fei Gao and Ji Chul Nam, and former undergraduate student Joe Adiasor -- "tapped" into these lines and found evidence for cross talk between two different resistance proteins.

The discovery was made while studying another plant protein, SRFR1, which helps to moderate the immune response of the wild mustard plant Arabidopsis thaliana to the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. The researchers were interested in why removal of the SRFR1 gene resulted in a plant with an immune system that was always activated. They traced the effect back to expression of the resistance protein, SNC1.

"The connection between SRFR1 and SNC1 was somewhat surprising," said Gassmann. "We identified SRFR1 based on its effect on the plant immune response to the bacterial effector protein AvrRps4, which is usually detected by the resistance protein RPS4, not SNC1."

This class of plant resistance proteins has been thought to be highly specific detectors, meaning each member responds to a different effector protein.

"Based on our work, we think part of the answer is that both SNC1 and RPS4 physically associate with SRFR1. In other words, SRFR1 is where the SNC1 and RPS4 telephone wires get crossed."

The researchers tapped into this cross talk while studying temperature effects on resistance. They found that both proteins, SNC1 and RPS4, contribute to detection of AvrRps4 at 22 degrees Celsius, but only RPS4 does so at 24 degrees Celsius. Gassmann speculated that the temperature dependence may explain why this cross talk had not been previously observed.

"The discovery adds important new knowledge about the underlying mechanism of how plants fight off bacterial infection," said Gassmann, who is also a member of the University's Interdisciplinary Plant Group.

The new research was funded by the National Science Foundation and is reported in the Nov. 4 issue of PLoS Pathogens.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Sang Hee Kim, Fei Gao, Saikat Bhattacharjee, Joseph A. Adiasor, Ji Chul Nam, Walter Gassmann, David Mackey. The Arabidopsis Resistance-Like Gene SNC1 Is Activated by Mutations in SRFR1 and Contributes to Resistance to the Bacterial Effector AvrRps4. PLoS Pathogens, 2010; 6 (11): e1001172 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1001172

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Change in temperature uncovers genetic cross talk in plant immunity; Discovery sheds light on how plants fight off bacterial infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101115174222.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2010, December 6). Change in temperature uncovers genetic cross talk in plant immunity; Discovery sheds light on how plants fight off bacterial infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101115174222.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Change in temperature uncovers genetic cross talk in plant immunity; Discovery sheds light on how plants fight off bacterial infections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101115174222.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
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