Navigation Links
Roots Engage in Underground Chemical Warfare

In addition to providing physical support and taking in nutrients, plant roots secrete a wide variety of compounds that affect other nearby roots, as well as insects and microbes. But because it goes on unseen, bactericidal root activity has not been extensively investigated—until now. Using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a relative of garden-variety cabbage, Jorge Vivanco and co-workers at Colorado State University, together with Frederick Ausubel at Harvard Medical School, demonstrated that "root exudates" contain antimicrobial agents that ward off the continual attacks by soil pathogens.

The work is published in the March 10 issue of the journal Nature.

The exudates from Arabidopsis roots kill a wide range of bacteria, confirming that roots are not always vulnerable, anchored targets. The natural production of these antimicrobial chemicals offers one explanation for why so few bacteria types actually cause disease in plants. Of the more than 50,000 plant diseases occurring in the United States, fungal pathogens are the leading cause.

"Current understanding of plant defenses does not readily explain why a pathogen can cause disease in one plant species and not another," says Vivanco. "Our findings will help researchers solve the mysteries of plant disease and immunity."

In these experiments, however, root exudates did not kill all of the tested strains of bacteria. One particular strain of Pseudomonas syringae, a bacterium that causes disease in both tomatoes and Arabidopsis, has a seemingly fail-safe mechanism to overcome the plant's defenses. The bacterium not only survives exposure to the antimicrobial substances, it also blocks the plant's ability to produce them.

Both Vivanco and Ausubel are supported by separate awards from the division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Vivanco is a recipient of NSF's prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) . CAREER awards support the early career development of those researcher-educators who are deemed most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. Parag Chitnis, the NSF program manager of Vivanco's award said, "This work is an exciting outcome of a bold and challenging project. The work paves the way to understand and combat crop diseases."

The program manager for Ausubel's award, Michael Mishkind said, "The puzzle of why so few bacterial species are pathogens remains a fascinating problem. The simple, yet elegant experimental approaches used by this team uncovered a critical aspect of the battle that occurs between plants and microbes.


Source:National Science Foundation

Related biology news :

1. Underground tunnels discovered as means for communication between immune system cells
2. Chemicals in tattoo inks need closer scrutiny
3. Chemical Engineer Kao Explores Antibiotic Synthesis With DNA Chips
4. Chemical band-aid prevents heart failure in mice with muscular dystrophy
5. Chemical compound inhibits tumor growth, size in new mouse study
6. T-rays: New imaging technology spotlighted by American Chemical Society
7. Chemical warfare agent detection technology used to treat lung disease
8. Chemical guidance of T cells leads to immunologic memory and long-term immunity
9. Chemical signaling helps regulate sensory map formation in the brain
10. Chemical in many air fresheners may reduce lung function
11. Chemical tests of cell growth enter third dimension
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ) ... Sensors - Technology and Patent Infringement Risk Analysis" ... --> Fingerprint sensors using capacitive technology ... fingerprint sensor vendor Idex forecasts an increase of 360% ... devices and of the fingerprint sensor market between 2014 ...
(Date:11/19/2015)... 19, 2015  Although some 350 companies are actively ... a few companies, according to Kalorama Information. These include Roche ... the market share of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular testing ... Market for Molecular Diagnostic s .    ... still controlled by one company and only a handful ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... -- Paris from 17 th ... Paris from 17 th until 19 th ... has invented the first combined scanner in the world which ... surface. Until now two different scanners were required: one for ... on the same surface. This innovation is an ideal ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 01, 2015 , ... Park Systems , world leader ... ion conductance microscopy module to Park NX10 that is the only product available ... benefits virtually all materials characterization that require measurements in liquid such as hydrogel, ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... December 1, 2015 Dr. Harry Lander , President of ... as Chief Science Officer and recruits five distinguished ... Lander , President of Regen, expands his role to include ... recruits five distinguished scientists to join advisory team ... expands his role to include serving as ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... Global ... and development stages of a new closed system for isolating adipose-derived stem cells. The ... vascular fraction (SVF) of adipose tissue. SVF is a component of the lipoaspirate obtained ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Partnership includes an MPP ... the u niversity , s Solid Drug Nanoparticle (SDN) ... - up through cost cuts ... , where licensees based anywhere in the world will have the right to make, ... Africa , where licensees based anywhere in the world will have the right ...
Breaking Biology Technology: