Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

More grapes, less wrath: Hybrid antimicrobial protein protects grapevines from pathogen

22.02.2012
A team of researchers has found a way to ensure that your evening glass of wine will continue to be available, despite the potential attack of Xylella fastidiosa (Xf), a bacterium that causes Pierce’s Disease and poses a significant threat to the California wine industry’s valuable grapevines.
Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), University of California at Davis (UCD), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service have created specially engineered grapevines that produce a hybrid antimicrobial protein that can block Xf infection.

Their research is published in the current edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “An engineered innate immune defense protects grapevines from Pierce’s disease,” by Abhaya M. Dandekar, et al. The article’s online tracking number is 2011-16027R in the PNAS Early Edition to be published the week of Feb. 20, 2012.

By helping the vine fight the microbe with specific proteins, the scientists envision vineyards requiring less reliance on chemicals as growers seek to fend off the bacterium and the glassy-winged sharpshooter (Homalodisca vitripennis) insect that carries it. As the insect feeds on various plants, it distributes the microbe widely.

The key to the project’s success is the fact that early in an Xf infection, molecules on the outer membrane of the microbe interact with cells of the grapevine. By interfering with that interaction between microbe and vine, scientists can help the vines block the disease and go on to produce a healthy crop of grapes.

"One thing got us started: with almost any pathogen, the major problem is drug resistance,” said Goutam Gupta, the corresponding author of the PNAS paper. “We wanted the plant to clear itself of the pathogen before it is infected, much as the body’s immune system naturally recognizes a pathogen and takes action to defeat it.”

To make the effective protein, researchers fused two genes: one that encodes a protein to cut a specific molecule on the outer membrane of Xf, and another that triggers the bursting of the Xf bacterium’s outer wall, called lysis.

The team inserted the hybrid gene into grapevines and observed the plants’ response to Xf infection. “The hybrid protein apparently creates pores in the membrane of the Gram-negative bacterium, Xf,” said Gupta, thus allowing the plant to fight back the infection. Sap from the engineered plants successfully killed Xf in laboratory tests, and the whole plants did not exhibit symptoms of Pierce’s disease after exposure to the Xf bacterium.

The antimicrobial gene may also protect other economically important plants from Xf-related diseases, and a similar strategy may be effective against a broad range of pathogen-induced plant and human diseases, Gupta said. X. fastidiosa is implicated in oleander leaf scorch, phony peach disease, plum leaf scald, almond leaf scorch, Pierce's disease in grapes, and citrus X disease in Brazil.

Work on this project has been funded by the California Department of Food & Agriculture, the US Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service, the LANL Center for Biosecurity Science, and the LANL Material Design Institute.

Image caption: Expression of a hybrid protein blocks Pierce’s Disease in grapevine. The hybrid protein (shown at the bottom right) creates pores in the membrane of the Gram-negative bacterium, Xf, that causes PD. Transgenic grapevine expressing the hybrid protein shows little or no leaf scorching as PD symptom upon Xf infection (top left) whereas the non-transgenic without the hybrid protein shows severe leaf scorching (top right).

About Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

LANL news media contact: Nancy Ambrosiano, (505) 667-0471, nwa@lanl.gov

Nancy Ambrosiano | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.lanl.gov

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht New rice fights off drought
04.04.2017 | RIKEN

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>