Navigation Links
Brown chemist finds gray mold's killer gene
Date:12/1/2008

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] Gray mold is a gardener's nightmare. The fungus, also known by its scientific name Botrytis cinerea, is a scourge to more than 200 agricultural and ornamental plant species, including staples such as tomatoes, strawberries, snap and lima beans, cabbage, lettuce and endive, peas, peppers, and potatoes. Gray mold envelops its target in a velvety vise, releasing a toxin that poisons the host plants' cells, eventually causing the plant to die.

So far, the only way to eliminate the pathogen is to spray plants with fungicides, which can be costly and can contaminate the surrounding environment.

Now Brown University chemist David Cane, working with researchers in France and Spain, has figured out how the fungus's deadly toxin is made and how it might be disarmed naturally. In a paper published online in ACS Chemical Biology, the scientists have identified the set of genes that manufactures the toxin and in particular the central gene the fungus uses for this synthesis. They also have also shown that shutting off this gene by interrupting the fungus's DNA completely shuts down toxin production, removing the special weapon the mold uses to kill and invade target plant cells.

"It's a big step to being able to disarm this toxin naturally through a combination of DNA sequencing and chemistry," said Cane, the Vernon K. Krieble Professor of Chemistry and professor of biochemistry, one of three primary authors of the paper.

The researchers, led by French scientist and paper co-author Muriel Viaud, started by determining the complete DNA sequence for Botrytis cinerea. Working with Spanish organic chemist and paper co-author Isidro Collado, the scientists focused on the chemical agent botrydial that gray mold uses to overwhelm host plants.

From among the roughly 9,000 genes present in gray mold, the researchers identified a cluster of five genes that is responsible for production of botrydial. They then sought to learn how this cluster manufactures the chemical agent and which of the genes was the mastermind in the production.

The culprit is an enzyme called a sesquiterpene cyclase, Cane's laboratory found.

"The metabolic pathways for creating organic compounds typically involve gene clusters, like a package," Cane explained. "One great advantage to our investigation is that if you find one, you look to the left or to the right, and you find the others."

In laboratory tests, Cane and the team introduced a mutant gene that deleted the sesquiterpene cyclase, which completely abolished production of the toxin.

"This means that if you can inhibit the enzyme from this pathway, you can eliminate this toxin," Cane said.

The team now is working on a similar procedure to tackle a strain of Botrytis cinerea that is able to produce both botrydial and a second toxin that it uses to attack its plant targets.


'/>"/>

Contact: Richard Lewis
Richard_Lewis@Brown.edu
401-863-3766
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. How do bacteria swim? Brown physicists explain
2. Brown scientist finds coastal dead zones may benefit some species
3. Carnegie Mellon to receive $900,000 from EPA for brownfields research
4. Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital expand national childrens study to Bristol County
5. Brown tree snake could mean Guam will lose more than its birds
6. Brown to host conference on advances in neurotechnology
7. Brown opens institute for molecular and nanoscale innovation
8. Brown scientists say biodiversity is crucial to ecosystem productivity
9. Eliminating germline lengthens fly lifespan, Brown study shows
10. Brown hosts regional bioengineering conference
11. New study changes conditions for Spanish brown bears
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Brown chemist finds gray mold's killer gene
(Date:3/2/2017)... -- Summary This report provides all the ... its partnering interests and activities since 2010. Download ... Partnering Deals and Alliance since 2010 report provides an ... the world,s leading life sciences companies. On ... inclusion of the most up to date deal and ...
(Date:3/2/2017)... March 2, 2017 Australian stem cell and ... CYP), has signed an agreement with the Monash Lung ... Biomedicine Discovery Institute and Department of Pharmacology at Monash ... further preclinical study to support the use of Cymerus™ ... Asthma is a chronic, long term ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... , Feb. 28, 2017   Acuant , a ... globally, announces significant enhancements to new and core technologies ... New products include mobile and desktop Acuant FRM TM ... - a real time manual review of identity ... technology provides the fastest and most accurate capture software ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... Okyanos Cell Therapy has ... part of their live events series, “Stem Cell Therapy: The Next Phase in the ... the 2013 Stem Cell Research and Therapy Act, Okyanos maintains a mission ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... , ... The Conference Forum has announced the launch of the 5th Annual ... 2017, at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston, MA. The CMO Summit is the only ... and support. , “The Chief Medical Officer faces a unique set of challenges at ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 22, 2017 , ... March 22, 2017...Council for ... another green revolution, one that utilizes technological innovation in smart, sustainable ways. Humans depend ... life such as aesthetics and environmental stability. This paper is the first in a ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... FRANCISCO , March 22, 2017   ... fastest growing genetic information companies, today announced the ... diagnosis of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) , ... leading lethal genetic disorders among infants as well ... in childhood. The new test, announced during the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: