Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mystery of nematode pest-resistant soybeans cracked: Gene also correlates with human diseases

Date:
October 15, 2012
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
The secrets of nematode resistant soybean plants are finally coming to light. Surprisingly, one of the genes related to nematode resistance in soybeans also has been associated with human diseases including lymphocytic leukemia, spina bifida and cardiovascular disease, according to a team of researchers.

For 50 years, the world's soybean crop has depended on the use of cyst nematode resistant varieties of beans, but no one knew how these plants fought off the nematode pests. Now, the secrets of resistant soybean plants are finally coming to light. Surprisingly, one of the genes related to nematode resistance in soybeans also has been associated with human diseases including lymphocytic leukemia, spina bifida and cardiovascular disease, according to a team of University of Missouri researchers and their colleagues whose breakthrough was recently published in the journal Nature.

"Nine years ago, when I began investigating the molecular basis of soybean resistance to nematodes in an effort to identify the genes involved, I never imagined it would be this complex," said Melissa Mitchum, co-author of the paper and associate professor of plant sciences at the University of Missouri's Bond Life Sciences Center. "The gene responsible for nematode resistance was completely unexpected. The gene, called serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT), is common in nature and found in different kingdoms including both animals and plants. In humans, mutations in the SHMT gene can lead to a deficiency of folate, a B vitamin that is essential to the production and maintenance of cells, and this has been linked to a variety of diseases."

Mitchum and her team collaborated with Khalid Meksem's group at Southern Illinois University to pinpoint the location of the gene in the soybean genome. They then identified soybean plants from a normally resistant variety, but with a mutated form of the SHMT gene. They observed that these plants had lost resistance to nematodes. In another experiment, the SHMT gene was shut down using two different gene-silencing techniques. These soybeans also became susceptible. A third test put the resistant form of the SHMT gene into normally susceptible soybeans and found that these plants also became resistant.

"Plant breeders can put our results to use immediately," Mitchum said. "We now know which genes to look for when breeding resistant varieties. Nematode resistance also can now be directly inserted into commercially important breeds of soybean. For farmers, developing new forms of resistance to SCN in soybeans can't come soon enough. Nematodes are developing their own ways around natural defenses. "Hopefully, our discovery has paved the way to enhance the durability of resistant varieties of soybean"

Although plant breeders can use Mitchum's discovery now, it may be another decade before she and her team discerns the technicalities of nematode resistance. So far, they know that two mutations in the SHMT gene alter the enzyme's activity in such a way to provide resistance to the plant. Together with Dmitry Korkin's group, they found that the deformed enzyme malfunctions, particularly in regions of the enzyme known as the binding pockets, where the enzyme interacts with other molecules. Exactly how this affects the nematode is still unclear.

For more details on the discovery, please visit: http://bondlsc.missouri.edu/news/story/61/1


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. Shiming Liu, Pramod K. Kandoth, Samantha D. Warren, Greg Yeckel, Robert Heinz, John Alden, Chunling Yang, Aziz Jamai, Tarik El-Mellouki, Parijat S. Juvale, John Hill, Thomas J. Baum, Silvia Cianzio, Steven A. Whitham, Dmitry Korkin, Melissa G. Mitchum, Khalid Meksem. A soybean cyst nematode resistance gene points to a new mechanism of plant resistance to pathogens. Nature, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nature11651

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Mystery of nematode pest-resistant soybeans cracked: Gene also correlates with human diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015131807.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2012, October 15). Mystery of nematode pest-resistant soybeans cracked: Gene also correlates with human diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015131807.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Mystery of nematode pest-resistant soybeans cracked: Gene also correlates with human diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015131807.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
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