Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genome of blue stain fungus evolved to bypass tree defense in mountain pine beetle epidemic

25.01.2011
The genome of the fungus that helps mountain pine beetles infect and kill lodgepole pines has been decoded in a University of British Columbia study.

Also known as blue stain fungus for the stain it leaves in the wood of infected trees, Grosmannia clavigera is carried to the host trees by pine beetles and weakens the trees’ natural defense system, allowing pine beetles to feed and reproduce in the tree bark. A successful beetle-fungus attack ultimately causes tree death.

Now, researchers from UBC and the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre have conducted a detailed genome analysis and identified genes in Grosmannia clavigera that are responsible for the fungus’s ability to bypass the lodgepole pine’s natural fungicide – and use it as a carbon source for fungal growth.

The study is published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We found that the fungus cannot only survive, but thrive when exposed to the normally fungicidal resin chemicals of pines,” says co-author Joerg Bohlmann, a Distinguished University Scholar and professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC. “In a way, it’s like these genes give the fungus the ability to turn poison into nectar.”

“Our study helps to clarify how the fungus has evolved to successfully infect lodgepole pine and gives us a better understanding of the intricate chemical interaction between the tree, beetle and fungus,” says Bohlmann. “This new knowledge could inform strategies to prevent future outbreaks, such as selecting trees with improved resistance to pine beetles and their associated pathogens.”

The current outbreak of mountain pine beetle has destroyed more than 16 million hectares of forest in B.C. – roughly twice the size of New Brunswick or more than 32 million football fields. It has crossed the Rocky Mountains, and is now in the boreal pine forests, moving east. The devastation of large areas of pine forest is anticipated to have major consequences for global carbon balance and sequestration.

The study was led by Bohlmann, Colette Breuil, a professor in the UBC Department of Wood Science and Scott DiGuistini, a doctoral student in the UBC Faculty of Forestry. It is funded by Genome BC, Genome Alberta, Genome Canada, as well as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the B.C. Ministry of Forests.

Joerg Bohlmann | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ubc.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus
22.05.2017 | University of Toronto

nachricht Insight into enzyme's 3-D structure could cut biofuel costs
19.05.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

Im Focus: Hydrogen Bonds Directly Detected for the First Time

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

Media accreditation opens for historic year at European Health Forum Gastein

16.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences

Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus

22.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan

22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>