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Tobacco protein enhances crop immune systems

Date:
July 11, 2012
Source:
ResearchSEA
Summary:
A component in tobacco that makes crop immune systems more resistant to viral attacks.

The tobacco plant's protein could be used to enhance existing crop immune systems.
Credit: Dennis Tang

A study led by Associate Prof. Kenji Nakahara at Hokkaido University in Japan has found a component in tobacco that makes crop immune systems more resistant to viral attacks.

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Although crops have a general defense mechanism in order to fight against viruses, their invaders counteract this defense by suppressing the plant immune response. Evidence from recent studies implied that plants have developed an additional set of countermeasures to combat the virus's immune suppression tactics.

In order to examine how plants do this, the researchers set out to find the mechanisms involved. Their results appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

They found rgs-CaM, otherwise known as "tobacco calmodulin-like protein," a calcium-binding messenger protein (Calmodulin is an abbreviation for "CALcium MODulated proteIN). In tobacco this protein binds to the viral (RNA interference) suppressors (molecules produced by the virus that chemically counteract the plants' own defenses) and inhibits the virus from impeding the plant's defenses.

These findings have the potential to enhance the immune systems for crops that are vulnerable to pesticide-resistant viruses. The results of this research may well have an impact beyond tobacco crops. "Because most viruses encode RNAi suppressors, this study may contribute to the development of a molecular breeding strategy to confer resistance other viruses in crops," said Associate Prof. Nakahara.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ResearchSEA. The original article was written by Aya Kawanishi. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K. S. Nakahara, C. Masuta, S. Yamada, H. Shimura, Y. Kashihara, T. S. Wada, A. Meguro, K. Goto, K. Tadamura, K. Sueda, T. Sekiguchi, J. Shao, N. Itchoda, T. Matsumura, M. Igarashi, K. Ito, R. W. Carthew, I. Uyeda. Tobacco calmodulin-like protein provides secondary defense by binding to and directing degradation of virus RNA silencing suppressors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; 109 (25): 10113 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1201628109

Cite This Page:

ResearchSEA. "Tobacco protein enhances crop immune systems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711134532.htm>.
ResearchSEA. (2012, July 11). Tobacco protein enhances crop immune systems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711134532.htm
ResearchSEA. "Tobacco protein enhances crop immune systems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711134532.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

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