Navigation Links
Computers aid in cracking deception in plants
Date:6/25/2009

COLUMBIA, Mo. If the growing presence of computer 'geeks' on television crime shows is any indicator, computers are increasingly becoming essential tools for detecting and combating skullduggery. However, television detectives are not the only ones taking advantage of these tools. Researchers also are beginning to collaborate with computer scientists to help uncover biological forms of deception, known as molecular mimicry.

"Molecular mimicry is a biological mechanism that a pathogen, such as a bacterium, uses to trick a host organism into accepting it and, in some cases, to alter the host's function to its own benefit," said Dmitry Korkin, assistant professor in the University of Missouri Informatics Institute and Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering. "All this mimicry occurs among proteins."

Korkin recently received a five-year, $613,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation to apply his computational research to the study of molecular mimicry in an important plant pathogen, the soybean cyst nematode.

The soybean cyst nematode is a small parasitic roundworm that infects the roots of a soybean plant. As part of its modus operandi, the nematode secretes proteins into the soybean that change the plant's cellular function and causes it to create a specialized cell from which the nematode feeds. Scientists think molecular mimicry may be involved in this host-pathogen interaction, but detecting it experimentally is difficult due to the sheer volume of proteins involved.

By applying concepts of machine learning and pattern recognition, Korkin will narrow the field of potential protein candidates by identifying protein binding sites in the soybean that match with those in the nematode.

"The problem is similar to trying to detect a face in a group of people," Korkin said. "To match the face, you need to know specific features about it: the color of the face, the color of the eyes, the shape of the nose, and so on. In our case, we're trying to find a specific protein binding site among a group of proteins from the nematode that match a particular binding site in the soybean using a set of chemical features."

Once potential binding sites are identified computationally, Korkin will work with Melissa Mitchum, assistant professor of plant sciences in MU's Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG), to verify them experimentally.

"We expect that information resulting from the research will help scientists improve soybean cultivars for disease resistance by accelerating the pace of discovery on resistance to this pathogen," said Korkin, who also is a member of the IPG and an investigator in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center.

He will be applying similar computational methods in studies of Shigella flexneri, a bacterium that can cause diarrhea in humans. For this research, he will be working closely with William Picking, professor at the University of Kansas.

Additional benefits of the project will be the interdisciplinary training of MU students, which may encourage them to consider careers in either the biological or computer sciences.

"This project provides a great environment to train students to think across disciplines," Korkin said. "Students from the life sciences will be working closely with students from computer science, and vice versa, to apply their individual expertise to solve a common research problem."


'/>"/>

Contact: Kelsey Jackson
JacksonKN@missouri.edu
573-882-8353
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Computers explain why pears may become brown during commercial storage
2. Liter of fuel would last UK 1 year if cars had kept pace with computers
3. FSU researcher using computers to hone cancer-fighting strategies
4. KAUST and IBM to build 1 of the fastest and most powerful supercomputers
5. Motorola Introduces Mobile Biometric Identification for Handheld Computers
6. Caltech researchers train computers to analyze fruit-fly behavior
7. Cracking the species code for plants
8. Sands of Gobi Desert yield new species of nut-cracking dinosaur
9. Layered approach may yield stronger, more successful bone implants
10. Clever plants chat over their own network
11. Plants can be used to study how and why people respond differently to drugs
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Computers aid in cracking deception in plants
(Date:4/28/2016)... First quarter 2016:   , Revenues amounted to ... of 2015 The gross margin was 49% (27) ... operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings per share rose ... was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , Outlook   ... The operating margin for 2016 is estimated to exceed ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... April 27, 2016 Research ... Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal ... 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal ... sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... CHICAGO , April 15, 2016  A ... companies make more accurate underwriting decisions in a ... offering timely, competitively priced and high-value life insurance ... health screenings. With Force Diagnostics, rapid ... and lifestyle data readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)...  Global demand for enzymes is forecast to ... $7.2 billion.  This market includes enzymes used in ... production, animal feed, and other markets) and specialty ... and beverages will remain the largest market for ... products containing enzymes in developing regions.  These and ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 27, 2016  Sequenom, ... company committed to enabling healthier lives through the development ... Supreme Court of the United States ... Federal courts that the claims of Sequenom,s U.S. Patent ... the patent eligibility criteria established by the Supreme Court,s ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Parallel 6 , the ... today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module which enables both ... physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, patients and physicians can ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Rolf K. ... the faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ... entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s international efforts, leading ...
Breaking Biology Technology: