Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Uncover Genome Sequence of Major Rice Pathogen

22.04.2005


In a genomics milestone, an international consortium of researchers has for the first time lifted the veil from a fungal plant pathogen by sequencing the genome – or set of all genes – of the most destructive enemy of rice: Magnaporthe grisea, the fungus that causes rice blast disease.



Dr. Ralph Dean, professor of plant pathology and director of North Carolina State University’s Center for Integrated Fungal Research, is the lead author of a research paper that describes the M. grisea genome, published in the April 21 issue of the journal Nature.

It is estimated that rice blast, the leading cause of rice loss, is responsible each year for killing enough rice to feed 60 million people worldwide.


In the Nature paper, Dean and his co-authors shed some light on the adaptations required by a fungus to cause disease. The researchers identify novel receptors that allow the fungus to recognize its environment; secreted proteins that are likely used as offensive weapons to damage rice plants; and redundant, or duplicate, mechanisms that protect the fungus from efforts to fight against it.

“It’s a clever system,” Dean says. “If you have important genes, you tend to have a lot of them.”

The paper also reports that the M. grisea genome contains retro-elements, or remnants of viruses, living in what Dean calls “hot spots” in the genome.

“These virus remnants live in discreet parts of the genome and have high rates of recombination, which may be why the fungus can evolve new strains so quickly,” Dean says.

M. grisea undoubtedly produces toxins which may enable it to be a more effective pathogen. However our knowledge is limited to date, Dean says. The genome sequence should give researchers “a better idea of what types of genes are involved in making the toxin molecules,” he says.

Some of these genes reside in clusters, Dean says, so one focus will be to take apart the clusters and learn more about toxins and their production.

“The primary mission is to uncover the organism’s weaknesses. You do that by building up an arsenal of information of what genes are involved in plant-pathogen interactions,” Dean says.

In July 2002, Dean and researchers from the Whitehead Institute at MIT, now called the Broad Institute, issued a preliminary genome sequence of M. grisea, and made it publicly available so other researchers could work to solve the problems rice blast presents.

“That work decoded the string of letters that comprise the genome,” Dean says. “This paper shows the work of the last two years in bringing this genome to life.”

Bringing the genome to life means capturing the biological meaning of the genome, Dean says. To do this, he and his colleagues used two strategies: comparative genomics and functional genomics.

“In comparative genomics, you compare this genome to that of other organisms, other fungi,” Dean says. “But fungi are very diverse; they’ve evolved tremendously. Fungi within the same family are as dissimilar as man is to a frog.”

In functional genomics, Dean explains, scientists use comparative genomics to get hints about where to concentrate their study efforts.

“M. grisea contains about 11,000 genes, so you can’t look at every one,” he says. “The comparative study allows us to look at novel classes of genes and novel proteins and prioritize study efforts.”

Dr. Ralph Dean | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>