Navigation Links
Scientists first to characterize barley plant-stem rust spore 'communication'

PULLMAN, Wash. Traditional thought holds that a disease-causing organism has to penetrate a plant to initiate resistance. Now, two Washington State University scientists have established that a barley plant recognizes an invader and begins to marshal its defenses within five minutes of an attack. The discovery, along with the scientists successful cloning of barleys disease-fighting gene and the pathogens signaling gene, could help to revolutionize the battle against cereal crop enemies, such as stem rust. Unless carefully controlled, stem rust has the potential to destroy a growers entire crop. Historically, stem rust has caused the loss of millions of bushels of grain and millions of dollars. Meanwhile, new threats are on the horizon. For example, Ug99 is an evolving wheat pathogen that poses a dangerous threat to global food security, especially in developing countries.

Now that we understand how the plant-pathogen interaction mechanism works, we hope we can manipulate it to build resistance in plants, said Andy Kleinhofs, professor of molecular genetics in WSUs Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. With further research, he added, that understanding could lead to new, more effective ways to battle crop diseases such as stem rust and Ug99.

It will take time for research on Ug99 to see if the mechanism works the same as in this case, Kleinhofs said. If it is the same, we could use the technology to defeat Ug99.

Kleinhofs and Assistant Research Professor Jayaveeramuthu Nirmala focused their research on understanding Rpg1, a gene that provides barley with resistance to the pathogen that causes stem rust. Rpg1 is unique in that it has provided durable resistance in barley over the past 60 years, Kleinhofs said. His laboratory team previously successfully cloned that resistance gene, which when combined with the recently discovered genes that activate it, delivers a one-two punch against stem rust.

It was while monitoring the activity of those combined genes that Kleinhofs and Nirmala observed and documented communication between the barley plants and stem rust spores.

In the process, the researchers identified the proteins recognized by the Rpg1 resistance gene and saw the series of signals that tell the plant to protect itself. It is clear that the plant recognizes the pathogen within five minutes of the spore touching the leaf, said Camille Steber, a research geneticist for the U.S. Department of Agricultures Agricultural Research Service at WSU.

The plants initial reaction to attack is invisible to the human eye, Nirmala said, but she succeeded in monitoring subtle changes in plant chemistry that demonstrated the plant not only recognized it was under attack but was starting to muster its resistance. Visible signs of the stem rust spores impact come within an hour, when pad-like lesions connecting the spore to the leaf cell begin to appear.

A reviewer of Kleinhofs and Nirmalas recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences said the discovery will probably open a whole new avenue of research of plant-pathogen interactions.

Steber said the discovery is a game-changer for plant scientists. This is the first example where the lock-and-key of cereal-pathogen response is clearly understood, she said.

Kleinhofs called his and Nirmalas understanding of the signaling that was going on between plant and pathogen one of those Eureka! moments. Three is still a lot to be learned, he added. As with any new discovery, more questions arise than have actually been answered, but it is a good start.


Contact: Kathy Barnard
Washington State University

Related biology news :

1. Jefferson scientists deliver toxic genes to effectively kill pancreatic cancer cells
2. Scientists identify novel inhibitor of human microRNA
3. Argonne scientists peer into heart of compound that may detect chemical, biological weapons
4. MU scientists go green with gold, distribute environmentally friendly nanoparticles
5. Scientists identify gene that may contribute to improved rice yield
6. Scientists discover why a mothers high-fat diet contributes to obesity in her children
7. MU scientists see how HIV matures into an infection
8. Earth scientists keep an eye on Texas
9. Thinking it through: Scientists call for policy to guide biofuels industry toward sustainability
10. Scientists identify a molecule that coordinates the movement of cells
11. Scientists Find new migratory patterns for Mediterranean and Western Atlantic bluefin tuna
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/20/2015)... , November 20, 2015 NXTD ... focused on the growing mobile commerce market and creator ... Gino Pereira , was recently interviewed on The ... air on this weekend on Bloomberg Europe , ... . --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the ...
(Date:11/18/2015)... Nov. 18, 2015  As new scientific discoveries deepen ... and other healthcare providers face challenges in better using ... patients. In addition, as more children continue to survive ... adulthood and old age. John M. Maris, ... Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) . --> ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... 17, 2015 Paris ... --> Paris , qui s,est ... DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation biométrique, a inventé le ... et empreintes sur la même surface de balayage. Jusqu,ici, ... l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, un seul scanner ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... TapImmune, Inc. (TPIV), a ... peptide and gene-based immunotherapeutics and vaccines for the treatment ... be presenting at the 8 th Annual LD ... PM PT. Dr. John N. Bonfiglio a ... the presentation and will join TapImmune management in meeting ...
(Date:11/30/2015)...  Aytu BioScience, Inc. (OTCQB: AYTU), a commercial-stage specialty ... present at two upcoming investor conferences. Aytu is scheduled ... conference, to be held December 3, 2015, and at ... December 2 nd & 3 rd , 2015 ... live via webcast. Josh Disbrow , Chief ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... RATON, Florida and MAGDEBURG, Germany ... Congress of NeuroRehabilitation (ECNR) in Vienna, Austria ... 3rd European Congress of NeuroRehabilitation (ECNR) in ... 2015. --> NovaVision, a wholly owned subsidiary of ... the European version of its Internet-delivered NovaVision Therapy Suite at ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, ... ... Company, today announced tighter software integration with MarkLogic, the Enterprise NoSQL database ... maximize information to drive change. , Smartlogic’s Content Intelligence capabilities provide a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: