Scientists from the University of California, Riverside have identified one of the key enzymes that trigger programmed cell death, an important process plants undergo in fighting off bacterial, fungal or viral infections. The development holds out hope of improving crop yields, which are dependent on plants being able to fend off multiple types of pathogens.
The findings, outlined in a paper titled “VPEg Exhibits a Caspase-like Activity that Contributes to Defense Against Pathogens” were reported in the Sept. 23, online issue of Current Biology, and involve research on the key plant protein, vacuolar processing enzyme or VPEg, in Arabidopsis thaliana, or thale cress, that is required for this process.
Programmed cell death (PCD), which occurs naturally in all multi-cellular organisms, is the regulated elimination of cells that happens during the course of development, as well as in response to bacterial, fungal and viral infection. Caspases are a family of proteases, or enzymes that degrade proteins, which play an essential role in initiating and carrying out programmed cell death in animals.
Ricardo Duran | EurekAlert!
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