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:12/19/2016)... , España y TORONTO , 19 de diciembre ... Northern Biologics Inc. que permitirá el desarrollo acelerado de MSC-1, un ... en varios tipos de tumor en 2017, con múltiples sitios previstos ... ... clase con objetivo en el factor inhibidor de leucemia (LIF), una ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... and BADEN-BADEN, Germany , December 15, ... global financial services provider, today announced an agreement with NuData ... biometrics, to join forces. The partnership will enable clients to ... in compliance with local data protection regulation. ... In order to provide ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... 2016  There is much more to innovative access ... engine. Continental will demonstrate the intelligence of today,s solutions ... . Through the combination of the keyless entry and ... elements, the international technology company is opening up new ... "The integration of biometric elements brings our ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 19, ... ... of advanced software solutions for pharmaceutical research and development (R&D), today announced ... in omic data analysis and interpretation for the rapidly evolving field of ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... GAITHERSBURG, Md. , Jan. 19, ... Altimmune, Inc., a privately-held immunotherapeutics company targeting infectious ... agreement for the merger of PharmAthene and Altimmune ... Novartis Venture Fund, HealthCap, Truffle Capital and Redmont ... and diversified immunotherapeutics company with four clinical stage ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 19, 2017 AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. (AIM: ABTU; ... in aquaculture and a majority-owned subsidiary of Intrexon Corporation ... completed the listing of its common shares on the ... Intrexon. "AquaBounty,s listing on NASDAQ represents an ... exposure to the U.S. markets as we advance plans ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... innovators, engineers, and scientists from around the world, was today awarded the "Best ... program is based entirely on merit and decided upon by a dedicated team ...
Breaking Biology Technology: