Bacteria surrenders plant war secrets

July 13, 2006

U.S. scientists say they've discovered the secret weapon of bacteria -- the way they secure a foothold in plants to launch an invasion.

The Michigan State University study focused on the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae, better known as the disease agent of bacterial speck. The pathogen attacks tomatoes, causing serious crop loss.

Michigan State biology Professor Sheng Yang used P. syringae in the laboratory plant Arabidopsis to obtain a better understanding of how bacteria establishes itself and destroys a plant's ability to fight infection.

The secret weapon: a bacterium's protein that targets a plant protein serving as a line of defense against illness, said researcher Kinya Nomura, the study's first author.

"The bacteria targets and disables a plant's defense protein, so they can get in and multiply," Nomura said. "It's a very nice strategy for bacteria, very clever."

The research project is described in the journal Science.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers build bacteria's photosynthetic engine

Related Stories

Researchers build bacteria's photosynthetic engine

July 29, 2015

Nearly all life on Earth depends on photosynthesis, the conversion of light energy into chemical energy. Oxygen-producing plants and cyanobacteria perfected this process 2.7 billion years ago. But the first photosynthetic ...

Plant light sensors came from ancient algae

July 28, 2015

The light-sensing molecules that tell plants whether to germinate, when to flower and which direction to grow were inherited millions of years ago from ancient algae, finds a new study from Duke University.

Unlocking the rice immune system

July 24, 2015

A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team of researchers led by scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy ...

Oskar's structure revealed

July 16, 2015

The structure of two parts of the Oskar protein, known to be essential for the development of reproductive cells, has been solved by scientists from EMBL Heidelberg.

Recommended for you

Better together: graphene-nanotube hybrid switches

August 2, 2015

Graphene has been called a wonder material, capable of performing great and unusual material acrobatics. Boron nitride nanotubes are no slackers in the materials realm either, and can be engineered for physical and biological ...

Shedding light on millipede evolution

August 2, 2015

As an National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded entomologist, Virginia Tech's Paul Marek has to spend much of his time in the field, hunting for rare and scientifically significant species. He's provided NSF with an inside ...

A cataclysmic event of a certain age

July 27, 2015

At the end of the Pleistocene period, approximately 12,800 years ago—give or take a few centuries—a cosmic impact triggered an abrupt cooling episode that earth scientists refer to as the Younger Dryas.

New blow for 'supersymmetry' physics theory

July 27, 2015

In a new blow for the futuristic "supersymmetry" theory of the universe's basic anatomy, experts reported fresh evidence Monday of subatomic activity consistent with the mainstream Standard Model of particle physics.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.