Navigation Links
Wildflower 'armors' itself against disease
Date:9/13/2010

An unusual wildflower that accumulates metals in its leaves has been found to use them as a kind of 'armor' against bacterial infection. Scientists from Oxford University have shown that when Alpine pennycress (Thlaspi caerulescens) plants accumulate metals in their leaves, they become resistant to attack by the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv. maculicola. They report their findings September 9 in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens.

Thlaspi, a small plant in the mustard family that grows on metal-rich soils scattered around Britain and Europe, such as the sites of former mine workings, is known to accumulate zinc, nickel and cadmium to very high concentrations in its leaves. "

Our results demonstrate that these plants are exploiting their metal-rich environment to armor themselves against disease," said co-author Dr Gail Preston of Oxford University's Department of Plant Sciences, co-author of the report. "What we've found is a direct link between these high metal concentrations and resistance to bacterial infection."

Co-author Helen Fones cultivated Thlaspi plants on progressively higher concentrations of zinc, nickel and cadmium and showed that all three metals were able to defend the plant against the pathogenic bacterium. By studying diverse strains of the bacterium, she was able to demonstrate a close relationship between the ability of bacteria to grow in the presence of high concentrations of metal and their ability to infect the plants.

"Previously, it has been difficult to explain why Thlaspi plants should accumulate such high concentrations of potentially toxic metals," said co-author Professor Andrew Smith of Oxford's Department of Plant Sciences, co-supervisor of the research. "Our findings provide good evidence that, by accumulating metals, these plants benefit from enhanced protection against enemies such as pathogenic microorganisms and herbivores."

The researchers also showed that bacteria surviving on Thlaspi plants on the site of a former leadzinc mine in Wales had a higher tolerance for zinc than bacteria isolated from plants growing on normal soils. This indicates that both the plant and its pathogens show evidence of local adaptation to survival in metal-rich environments, and that pathogens can adapt to overcome plant defenses based on metals.

"Heavy metals may be part of an evolutionary 'arms race' between plants and the microorganisms that try to colonize them," said Dr. Preston.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Gail Preston
gail.preston@plants.ox.ac.uk
44-075-000-08144
Public Library of Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Wildflower declines in Thoreaus Concord woods are due to climate changes
2. Your body recycling itself -- captured on film
3. A window that washes itself?
4. No longer a gray area: Our hair bleaches itself as we grow older
5. Biodiversity itself begets a species cascade, researchers say
6. Scientists discover how deadly fungus protects itself
7. Scripps scientists develop first examples of RNA that replicates itself indefinitely
8. Researchers discover novel mechanism protecting plants against freezing
9. New analysis weighs lost trade, costs to control invasive species against economic damages
10. MSU project may lead to new approaches against lung cancer
11. Study shows that hitchhiking bacteria can go against the flow
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/2/2016)... --  The Weather Company , an IBM Business (NYSE: ... in which consumers will be able to interact with IBM ... voice or text and receive relevant information about the product ... have long sought an advertising solution that can create a ... and valuable; and can scale across millions of interactions and ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... NEW YORK , May 16, 2016   ... authentication solutions, today announced the opening of an IoT ... to strengthen and expand the development of embedded ... provides an unprecedented level of convenience and security with ... to authenticate one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... April 28, 2016 First quarter 2016:   ... 966% compared with the first quarter of 2015 The ... 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% (-13) ... Cash flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) ... guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical ... novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, ... been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. ... of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. ... designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased ... and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... In ... University Hospital in Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated ... tissue. The results could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free validated electronic ... showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, 2016 for ... Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA (Drug Information ...
Breaking Biology Technology: