Bacteria surrenders plant war secrets

Jul 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: Efforts to save rare northern white rhino continue

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Yellowstone's thermal springs—their colors unveiled

3 hours ago

Researchers at Montana State University and Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany have created a simple mathematical model based on optical measurements that explains the stunning colors of ...

US accuses North Korea of Sony hack (Update)

3 hours ago

The United States said Friday that North Korea was behind a cyber attack on Sony Pictures, warning that those responsible would face punishment, as an envoy for Pyongyang again denied involvement.

Recommended for you

A vegetarian carnivorous plant

16 hours ago

Carnivorous plants catch and digest tiny animals in order and derive benefits for their nutrition. Interestingly the trend towards vegetarianism seems to overcome carnivorous plants as well. The aquatic carnivorous bladderwort, ...

User comments : 0

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.