How plants shut the door on infection

Plants have a unique ability to safeguard themselves against pathogens by closing their pores—but until now, no one knew quite how they did it. Scientists have known that a flood of calcium into the cells surrounding the ...

When two worlds meet: A protease that controls small RNA activity

The protection of genome integrity of germ cells is essential for animal fertility. Researchers from the Grosshans group characterized a defense mechanism against selfish genetic elements in the C. elegans germline. They ...

When synthetic evolution rhymes with natural diversity

Researchers at GMI—Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) use two complementary ...

A trap for nematodes

Filariae, slender but sometimes up to 70-centimeter-long nematodes, can set up residence in their host quite tenaciously and cause serious infectious diseases in the tropics. The tiny larvae of the worms are usually transmitted ...

Immune and circulatory systems are integrated in insects

Biologists have found solid proof that among the insect tree of life, the relationship between the immune and circulatory systems is consistent. The discovery will help researchers understand how insects—including the relatively ...

Bacteria can 'outsmart' programmed cell death

Certain bacteria can override a defence mechanism of the immune system, so called programmed cell death, through inhibition of death effector molecules by their outer membranes components. Shigella bacteria, which cause diarrhoea, ...

Specific immune response of beetles adapts to bacteria

The immune system fends off pathogens in a wide variety of ways. For example, the immune system's memory is able to distinguish a foreign protein it has encountered before and to react with a corresponding antibody. Researchers ...

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