Navigation Links
TUM researchers discover a new switch in resistance to plant diseases

This release is available in German.

Plants, too, have an immune system that protects them against diseases. The early detection of pathogens and the subsequent immune response, in particular at the cell wall, work as a protective shield. However, the pathogens that cause plant diseases have their weapons, too. Some are able to suppress the natural cell wall reaction in plants. "One particularly ingenious attacker, powdery mildew, can even reprogram cells in such a way that they adapt their architecture and metabolism to accommodate the fungus. The plant thus actively fosters the in-growth of the harmful mildew and even supplies it with nutrients," explains Prof. Ralph Hckelhoven from the TUM Chair of Phytopathology. How the mildew manages this manipulation and which plant components are involved in the process is still largely shrouded in mystery.

Hckelhoven's team of researchers has now succeeded in unraveling a part of the mystery. With the support of colleagues from Gatersleben, Gieen and Erlangen, the Weihenstephan scientists identified two proteins in barley that powdery mildew takes advantage of during its "hostile takeover" of living plant cells. Together, the two protein substances steer development processes in the plant cell. In barley, for instance, they are responsible for the growth of root hairs. The one protein, called RACB, is a molecular switch, which reacts to signals from outside to initiate a structural and metabolic response in the plant cells. In particular, it is involved in enlarging the plant cell surface during the growth process. The other protein, called MAGAP1, serves as its counterpart and can prevent or locally limit these activities in the cell.

The researchers observed just how the RACB protein supported the fungus during plant in-growth. A basic function of the protein, increasing the surface of the plant cell membranes, provides a gateway for attack: RACB fosters the increase in cell surface while the mildew is invading, thereby leaving the plant cell intact while still supporting the fungus. Hckelhoven's team was able to demonstrate that the plant becomes less susceptible to powdery mildew when the protein is missing. Hckelhoven explains: "That is how the fungus benefits from this barley protein. RACB makes it easier for powdery mildew to push its haustoria, or feeding organs, into the attacked cell, to then take control of the barley cell." The scientists suspect that the fungus manages to take control of the plant's signal chain from outside remotely, so to speak to open the door to the plant's nutrients.

The TUM researchers showed that barley is not entirely defenseless against this trick: MAGAP1 can effectively prevent such attacks from outside. This counterpart protein is normally found at the cytoskeleton of the plant cell, a dynamic network of protein fibers that is responsible, among other things, for reinforcing the cell wall to prevent fungal invasions. During an attack MAGAP1 migrates to the cell surface membrane where it then switches off the susceptibility factor RACB. This hinders the increase in cell surface, which the fungus needs to penetrate into the cell. The resilient barley cell may use this mechanism to slam the door in the face of powdery mildew.

The Chair of Pythopathology primarily does basic research. The scientists though, who are also members of the Hans Eisenmann Center of Agricultural Science at the TUM, had farmers in mind even at this early stage. "With a better understanding of the cause of diseases we hope, in the midterm, to find innovative approaches to maintaining the health of crops and grains by enhancing their immunity," says Prof. Hckelhoven.


Contact: Jana Bodicky
Technische Universitaet Muenchen

Related biology news :

1. NC State researchers get to root of parasite genome
2. Researchers find animal with ability to survive climate change
3. Researchers find an essential gene for forming ears of corn
4. Researchers note differences between people and animals on calorie restriction
5. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
6. Researchers discover that growing up too fast may mean dying young in honey bees
7. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
8. UI researchers find potentially toxic substance present in Chicago air
9. Researchers develop new self-training gene prediction program for fungi
10. Case Western Reserve University researchers track Chernobyl fallout
11. Childrens National researchers develop novel anti-tumor vaccine
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/18/2015)... New York , November 18, 2015 ... Market Research has published a new market report titled ... Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2015 - 2021. According to the ... in 2014 and is anticipated to reach US$29.1 bn ... to 2021. North America ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... Calif. , Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics ... of human interface solutions, today announced expansion of ... TouchView ™ touch controller and display driver ... revolution of smartphones. These new TDDI products add ... TD4100 (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... LONDON , Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... segmented on the basis of product, type, ... segments included in this report are consumables, ... this report are safety biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, ... in this report are diagnostics development, drug ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)...  Clintrax Global, Inc., a worldwide provider of clinical research services ... that the company has set a new quarterly earnings record in ... growth posted for Q3 of 2014 to Q3 of 2015.   ... , with the establishment of an Asia-Pacific ... United Kingdom and Mexico , ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... This fall, global software solutions leader SAP and AdVenture Capital ... and pitch their BIG ideas to improve health and wellness in their schools. , ... win the title of SAP's Teen Innovator, an all-expenses paid trip to Super Bowl ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Massachusetts , November 24, 2015 SHPG ... will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare ... Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). ... , Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 ... , NY on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- Tikcro Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) today announced that its Annual General Meeting ... Israel time, at the law offices of ... th Floor, Tel Aviv, Israel . ... Izhak Tamir to the Board of Directors; , election of ... approval of an amendment to certain terms of options granted to our ...
Breaking Biology Technology: