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:11/18/2015)... PHILADELPHIA , Nov. 18, 2015  As new ... in children, doctors and other healthcare providers face challenges ... counsel families and patients. In addition, as more children ... into a patient,s adulthood and old age. ... The Children,s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) . ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... Calif. , Nov. 17, 2015  Vigilant Solutions ... has joined its Board of Directors. ... Board after recently retiring from the partnership at TPG ... 107 companies with over $140 Billion in revenue.  He ... improvement across all the TPG companies, from 1997 to ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... Nov. 12, 2015  Arxspan has entered into ... and Harvard for use of its ArxLab cloud-based ... tools. The partnership will support the institute,s efforts ... chemical research information internally and with external collaborators. ... for managing the Institute,s electronic laboratory notebook, compound ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... November 25, 2015 Studies reveal ... human plaque and pave the way for more effective treatment ... cats     --> ... diagnosed health problems in cats, yet relatively little was understood ... collaborative studies have been conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... its business and prospects remain fundamentally strong and ... (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB recommendation to continue ... following review of the final interim efficacy and ... Primary Endpoint in men with heavily pretreated castration- ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... PORTLAND, Oregon , November 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Deep Market Research Report is a professional and ... Genomics industry.      (Logo: ... basic overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, ... analysis is provided for the international markets including ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The United States Golf ... the 2016 USGA Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section ... her work with turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an extension ...
Breaking Biology Technology: