Seeking to catch an arms-race maneuver in action, researchers have uncovered new evidence to explain how bacteria in the process of infecting a plant can shift molecular gears by excising specific genes from its genome to overcome the host plants specific defenses.
Throughout evolution – in the wild and in crops cultivated by humans – plants have developed systems for resisting the attack of microbial pathogens, while these microbes themselves have depended on their ability to alter molecular attack strategies in order to flourish. In the new work, researchers have essentially caught one step of this arms race in action, and they have shed light on the molecular mechanisms employed by a bacterial pathogen to survive in the face of its host plants defenses. The research is reported by John Mansfield and colleagues at Imperial College London, the University of the West of England, and the University of Bath.
Studying interactions between strains of the halo-bright pathogen and bean plants, the researchers found that the pathogenic bacteria essentially kicks out a section of its genome when it senses that its presence has been detected by the plants defense system. Excising this so-called "genomic island" eliminates production of the bacterial protein detected by the plant and allows a more stealthy – and successful – invasion.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
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Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
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Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
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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.
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26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
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