A newly discovered protein from a fungus is able to suppress the innate immune system of plants. This has been reported by research teams from Cologne and Würzburg in the journal "Nature Communications".
The fungus Piriformospora indica colonizes the roots of different plants. This can be orchids, tobacco, barley or even moss. It penetrates into the roots, but does not damage the plants. On the contrary, it can even promote the growth of its plant partners. Such and other interactions between the fungus and its partners are already known to the scientific community.
Research groups from Cologne and Würzburg are now reporting a new facet of the fungus-plant relationship in "Nature Communications": The researchers identified a protein with which the fungus suppresses the immune defence of the populated plants. So it makes sure that it is not attacked like disease-inducing fungi and the relationship can succeed in the long run.
The protein "Fungal Glucan Binding 1" (FGB1) causes, inter alia, the plant not to produce an "oxidative burst". This usually generates aggressive oxygen radicals, which destroy potential pathogens and activate the immune system of the plant.
Protein makes the plant blind to fungus structures
How does the protein lame the immune response of the plant? "It binds highly affine and very specific to sugar molecules that sit in the cell wall of the fungi and which are normally recognized as 'foreign' by the plant," explains Professor of Molecular Biology Alga Zuccaro from the University of Cologne. FGB1 acts like a camouflage coat and conceals the foreign sugar molecules from the immune system.
The relevant sugar molecules are beta-1,3 / 1,6-glucans, according to Jürgen Seibel, a professor of Organic Chemistry at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg. The fact that fungal glucans have a positive effect on human immune systems has been known for a long time. It is less known that they can also stimulate the immune system of plants.
The fact that the immune defence is suppressed by FGB1 in the case of Piriformospora indica, Zuccaro and Seibel can now demonstrate by combining the know-how of their working groups. The Cologne molecular biologist is an expert on root-colonizing fungi and the plant immune system, the Würzburg chemist is a specialist for sugar molecules and their functions in cells and organisms.
Perspective for medical diagnostics
The new findings may be useful in medicine and plant breeding. Given that the newly discovered protein FGB1 has such a high affinity and specificity to beta-1,6-glucans from fungi cell walls, it is possibly suitable for the diagnosis of human infections. In addition, the new knowledge could contribute to the cultivation of plants with increased disease resistance in the long term.
The next step is to examine how the plants recognize the beta-1,3 / 1,6-glucans and how exactly FGB1 suppresses them.
The fungal-specific ß-glucan-binding lectin FGB1 alters cell-wall composition and suppresses glucan-triggered immunity in plants. Stephan Wawra, Philipp Fesel, Heidi Widmer, Malte Timm, Jürgen Seibel, Lisa Leson, Leona Kesseler, Robin Nostadt, Magdalena Hilbert, Gregor Langen & Alga Zuccaro, Nature Communications,DOI:10.1038/ncomms13188
Prof. Dr. Alga Zuccaro, University of Cologne, T +49 221 470-7170, firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Seibel, University of Würzburg, T +49 931 31-85326, email@example.com
Robert Emmerich | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations
16.01.2018 | University of California - San Diego
Unexpected environmental source of methane discovered
16.01.2018 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.01.2018 | Awards Funding