Researchers at Oregon State University have made a major discovery in basic plant biology that may set the stage for profound advances in plant genetics or biotechnology.
Researchers at Oregon State University have made a major discovery in basic plant biology, using a pathogen of wheat to discover a new pathway into plants cells. This may allow important advances in biotechnology. This microscopic image shows a toxin in wheat cells and the toxin structure.
The scientists have identified for the first time a protein that can cross plant cell membranes, where it functions as a toxin to kill the cell. It had been known that viruses and bacteria can penetrate cell wall barriers and disrupt plant cells, but never before has a protein been found that could do this by itself.
When more research is done, this may provide a new tool to penetrate plant cells and possibly manipulate their behavior in some beneficial way - to grow faster, resist disease or increase yields.
Lynda Ciuffetti | EurekAlert!
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