Navigation Links
Change in temperature uncovers genetic cross talk in plant immunity

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.

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.


Contact: Melody Kroll
University of Missouri-Columbia

Related biology news :

1. Time to prepare for climate change
2. New research changes understanding of C4 plant evolution
3. Mountain ranges may act as "safe haven" for species facing climate change
4. Mountain ranges may act as "safe haven" for species facing climate change
5. NYU Courant researchers develop algebraic model to monitor cellular change
6. MRI contrast agents change stem cell proliferation
7. Slight change in wind turbine speed significantly reduces bat mortality
8. Changes in energy R&D needed to combat climate change
9. Universities receive grants to study climate change decisions
10. Climate change may create tipping points for populations, not just species
11. OU researchers awarded $3M DOE grant to determine effects of climate change on two ecosystems
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/9/2016)...  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the ... employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016   The Weather Company , an IBM ... an industry-first capability in which consumers will be able to ... ask questions via voice or text and receive relevant information ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that ... be personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... May 16, 2016   EyeLock LLC , a ... the opening of an IoT Center of Excellence in ... expand the development of embedded iris biometric applications. ... of convenience and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making ... aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader in ... Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, Mosio ... practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of how ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SILVER SPRING, Md. , June 23, 2016 ... evidence collected from the crime scene to track the criminal ... sick, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. ... whole genome sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June, 23, 2016  The ... students to envision new ways to harness living systems ... of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York ... more than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s ... included Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case report published today ... a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an ... paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: