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Plant disease 'stealth bomber' tactics subverted to tackle hundreds of plant pathogens
Date:12/9/2010

Research, led by the University of Warwick, The Sainsbury Laboratory, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), has sequenced the genome of a plant disease causing organism revealing that it acts like a "stealth bomber of plant pathogens". The research has uncovered the tactics used to sneak past the plant's immune defences. That same discovery also provides tools for researchers to identify the components of the plant immune system and devise new ways to prevent disease.

The research at the University of Warwick, the Sainsbury Laboratory and Virginia Tech, was funded by the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, NSF, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It looked at an obligate biotroph, a type of plant pathogen which has adapted so exquisitely to its host that it extracts nutrients only from living plant tissue and cannot grow away for their plant. While the organism may once have been able to exist by itself it has now evolved in such a way that it cannot survive without a host plant and usually that has to be a very specific type of host plant.

The researchers looked specifically at Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis, that can only survive on its host the model plant Arabidopsidis, the model plant of the plant science world. Hyaloperonospora arabidopsis is a type of water mould that causes yellow patches and fuzzy white mould on the leaves. Close relatives cause disease and damage on many crops including broccoli, maize, grapes and lettuce. The researchers found that this particular plant pathogen has evolved a highly successful strategy that allows it to present a very small profile to its host plant disease prevention defences. By losing, or never acquiring in the first place, many abilities found in other pathogens, Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis is able to minimise the number of genetic markers it carries that could be p
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Contact: Jim Beynon
Jim.Beynon@warwick.ac.uk
44-247-657-5141
University of Warwick
Source:Eurekalert

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