Navigation Links
Plant Sacrifices Cells to Fight Invaders

Researchers recently discovered a gene essential to one of the plant kingdom's key immune responses--programmed cell death (PCD). Plants use PCD to create a protective zone of dead cells around the infection site to prevent the invading pathogen from spreading. But how the plants keep from killing themselves after they turn on the cell-suicide process was a mystery.

Now, in the May 20 issue of the journal Cell, Yale University's Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar and his colleagues report finding a gene that normally propagates a "pro-survival" signal in plant tissue. Without that input, an alternate "pro-death" signal moves out of the infected areas and damages the rest of the plant.

The group studied the plant-pathogen interactions in a type of tobacco easily infected with a virus in the laboratory. The model system allowed the researchers to inactivate, or silence, a gene important to the plant's PCD response. In particular, when the gene was inactivated, the plant was unable to regulate the extent of PCD, leading to excessive cell death throughout the plant.

When a plant pathogen makes contact with its intended target, the plant cells immediately launch a set of sophisticated molecular responses. Such defense mechanisms, including PCD, are similar to immune responses exhibited by animal cells when they are fighting a disease-causing agent.

In fact, PCD is a well-researched, yet still puzzling phenomenon that has been described in virtually all cell types, both plant and animal. PCD plays a critical role in many biological processes including immune system function, embryonic development and elimination of defective cells. When PCD malfunctions, or is undermined by pathogens, the effects can be devastating, resulting in diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and AIDS.

Dinesh-Kumar, whose work is supported by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Plant Genome Research program, had to first develop the gene-silencing technique to adequa tely inactivate the plant genes. The new technique was a success for the field of plant research and is currently being used by several research groups. NSF's Jane Silverthorne said, "This is a great example of how NSF-supported tools are enabling important basic research in plants with a broader relevance to other organisms."



Related biology news :

1. Quantum Dots Research Leads to New Knowledge about Protein Binding in Plants
2. Plants, animals share molecular growth mechanisms
3. Plants respond similarly to signals from friends, enemies
4. Affymetrix Unveils Plans to Double Plant and Animal Genome Microarray Offering
5. Plant hemoglobins: Oxygen handlers critical for nitrogen fixation
6. Plants defy Mendels inheritance laws, may prompt textbook changes
7. Whats really making you sick? Plant pathologists offer the science behind Sick Building Syndrome
8. Breakthrough System for Understanding Ocean Plant Life Announced
9. Plant pathologists evaluate eco-friendly alternatives to methyl bromide
10. Study: Plants use dual defense system to fight pathogens
11. Plants discriminate between self and non self
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/17/2015)... , Nov. 17, 2015  Vigilant Solutions announces ... joined its Board of Directors. --> ... after recently retiring from the partnership at TPG Capital, ... companies with over $140 Billion in revenue.  He founded ... across all the TPG companies, from 1997 to 2013.  ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... --  Growing need for low-cost, easy to use, ... the way for use of biochemical sensors for ... clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and defense applications. Presently, ... applications, however, their adoption is increasing in agricultural, ... on improving product quality and growing need to ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Nov. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... of human interface solutions, today announced broader entry into ... of vehicle-specific solutions that match the pace of consumer ... drivers, and biometric sensors are ideal for the automotive ... the vehicle. Europe , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... This fall, global ... competitive events in five states to develop and pitch their BIG ideas to improve ... each state are competing for votes to win the title of SAP's Teen Innovator, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 SHPG ) announced today that ... Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> SHPG ... will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare ... Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) today announced that its ... at 11:00 a.m. Israel time, at the law ... Allon Street, 36 th Floor, Tel Aviv, Israel ... and Izhak Tamir to the Board of Directors; ... directors; , approval of an amendment to certain terms of options ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Twist Bioscience, a company ... Leproust, Ph.D., Twist Bioscience chief executive officer, will ... on December 1, 2015 at 3:10 p.m. Eastern ... City. --> --> ... Twist Bioscience is on Twitter. Sign up to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: