"To avoid detrimental effects of long-lasting immune activation, plant and animal hosts need a way to switch the activation off," she noted. "How that can be has been a mystery to scientists."
The team discovered that the flagellin perception recruited PUB12 and PUB13 to the receptor FLS2 complex.
Those two enzymes could add a biochemical signature tag, ubiquitin, to the FLS2 receptors which inform sells to degrade the immune senors, she added.
As a result of these actions, immune signaling decreased.
Knowing how immune signaling works may help researchers devise ways to help plants and animals including humans regulate their immune systems.
Shan said the mechanism her lab discovered is very broad in that it can be found in both plants and animals.
"We needed to understand the mechanism so that we can regulate it better," she said. "The host needs to know when the signal is triggered (to fight off a pathogen). Then the immune response needs to go quickly up and then back down when it is no longer needed."
Shan believes that this ability could lead to cures, rather than medical relief, from an assortment of ailments including allergies and autoimmune diseases.
"Plants have figured out how to survive in terms of disease and pest resistance," she added. "And what we learn from them at the molecular level might help us understand animal pathogens better."
|Contact: Kathleen Phillips|
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications