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RIT scientists decode 3 bacterial strains common to grapevines and sugarcane
Date:12/17/2012

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Grapevines

The team's Riesling grapevine research could lead to novel applications for improving disease resistance to organisms that attack the xylem, or vascular system, of grapes.

Sap-feeding insects create wounds and doorways for bacteria to enter a plant's xylem. Pathogenic endophytes weaken a wide variety of economically important crops like grapes, citrus, plum, peach and coffee, among others. Savka began exploring grape endophytes in 2006 while on sabbatical at the New York State Agricultural Experimental Station, an extension of Cornell University in Geneva, N.Y.

Few studies have characterized bacteria from xylem fluids of grapevines, says Savka. The strain he is looking at produces proteins that exhibit the coordinated communication signaling that might influence the spread of pathogenic bacteria. Savka and undergraduate students in his lab made a genetic mutant of a protein from Methylobacterium that doesn't produce quorum sensing signals. Savka and Gan will continue this line of research in future studies.

"Ming has access to the technology to do the global studies," Savka says. "We have formed a collaboration with Ming to determine the whole genome picture, a global picture of what genes are regulated by the small quorum sensing molecules. It is a very powerful tool to have."

The third bacterium the team decoded colonizes a plant tumor disease in grapevines, stone fruits, nut trees, pommes, woody ornamentals and fruit canes. Novosphingobium spreads the disease caused by a Nopaline bacterium associated with crown gall tumors. The disease causes uncontrolled tissue growth at the site of the bacterial infection and can significantly decrease crop yields, Savka says. The sequenced strain of bacteria that helps spread the disease was isolated from a tumor affecting a Hungarian Riesling grapevine. The strain was shown to produce the cell-signaling communication that mobilizes molec
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Contact: Susan Gawlowicz
smguns@rit.edu
585-475-5061
Rochester Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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