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More grapes, less wrath: Hybrid antimicrobial protein protects grapevines from pathogen
Date:2/21/2012

it."

To make the effective protein, researchers fused two genes: one that encodes a protein to cut a specific molecule on the outer membrane of Xf, and another that triggers the bursting of the Xf bacterium's outer wall, called lysis.

The team inserted the hybrid gene into grapevines and observed the plants' response to Xf infection. "The hybrid protein apparently creates pores in the membrane of the Gram-negative bacterium, Xf," said Gupta, thus allowing the plant to fight back the infection. Sap from the engineered plants successfully killed Xf in laboratory tests, and the whole plants did not exhibit symptoms of Pierce's disease after exposure to the Xf bacterium.

The antimicrobial gene may also protect other economically important plants from Xf-related diseases, and a similar strategy may be effective against a broad range of pathogen-induced plant and human diseases, Gupta said. X. fastidiosa is implicated in oleander leaf scorch, phony peach disease, plum leaf scald, almond leaf scorch, Pierce's disease in grapes, and citrus X disease in Brazil.


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Contact: Nancy Ambrosiano
nwa@lanl.gov
505-667-0471
DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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