Nematodes are small worms. Some species are plant-parasitic and infect plants including important agricultural crops.
The typical symptoms of a nematode-infection are withering, seriously retarded growth, and impaired development of flower and fruit. Severely infected plants often do not survive the damage that the worms inflict. Each year, plant-parasitic nematodes cause more than 80 billion euro in agricultural losses worldwide.
Plant roots as food factories
Some of these nematodes have developed an ingenious way of making a plant feed them. They penetrate the plant’s roots and make their way to their host’s vascular bundles, which are part of the plant’s transport system for water, minerals, sugars, and other nutrients. The nematodes select a single plant cell in the vascular bundle system and then inject this cell with a cocktail of proteins. The activating influence of these proteins causes the plant cell to merge with neighboring cells and to start producing food for the nematode. This plant cell - which can become as large as 200 normal plant cells - is called the nematode feeding site.
Nematodes trick the plant
Research has revealed that nematodes mislead the plant by disrupting its hormonal regulation. The plant hormone auxin, which is important for nearly every one of the plant’s developmental processes, accumulates at the site of infection. Later, when the feeding site needs to grow, auxin accumulates in the neighboring plant cells. Until now, scientists have not known how nematodes manipulate the transport of auxin.
Wim Grunewald and his colleagues from VIB and Ghent University have been studying the role of PIN proteins in a popular model plant: the mouse ear cress (Arabidopsis thaliana). These plant proteins enable the transport of auxin from one cell to another. To discover the specific function of the various PIN proteins, the researchers have used plants that, through manipulation, are not able to produce PIN1, PIN2, PIN3, PIN4 or PIN7. In this way, the researchers have been able to show that nematodes knock out certain of the plant’s PIN proteins, while other PIN proteins are activated just to transport auxin to the neighboring cells.
With this discovery, the scientists are taking us a step closer towards fully understanding the way in which nematodes feed themselves through plants. Ways to thwart the nematodes can then be invented - for example, by locally counteracting the nematodes’ manipulation of auxin transport. Because current methods for protecting agricultural and other crops against nematodes require substances that are very environmentally unfriendly, this finding can lead to important improvements in combating this costly problem.
Evy Vierstraete | alfa
Further reports about: > Arabidopsis thaliana > PIN > PIN proteins > Plant roots > agricultural crops > food factories > hormonal regulation > infection of crops > nematode-infection > nematodes > plant cell > plant-parasitic > plant-parasitic nematodes > plant’s transport system for water > small worms > vascular bundle system
Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences