For billions of years life on Earth was restricted to aquatic environments, the oceans, seas, rivers and lakes. Then 450 million years ago the first plants colonized land, evolving in the process multiple types of beneficial relationships with microbes in the soil.
These relationships, known as symbioses, allow plants to access additional nutrients. The most intimate among them are intracellular symbioses that result in the accommodation of microbes inside plant cells.
A study published in Nature Plants, led by scientists from the John Innes Centre in the UK and the University of Toulouse/CNRS in France, describes the discovery of a common genetic basis for all these symbioses.
It is hypothesised that the colonization of land by plants was made possible through a type of symbiosis that plants form with a group of fungi called mycorrhizal fungi.
Even today 80% of plants we find on land can form this mycorrhizal symbiosis. Plants have also evolved the ability to engage in intracellular symbiosis with a large diversity of other microbes.
Over the past two decades, studies on mycorrhizal symbiosis and another type of symbiosis, formed by legumes such as peas and beans with soil bacteria, have allowed the identification of a dozen plant genes that are required for the recognition of beneficial microbes and their accommodation inside plant cells. By contrast, other types of intracellular symbioses have been poorly studied.
To address this, the team compared the genomes of nearly 400 plant species to understand what is unique to those that can form intracellular symbioses. Surprisingly, they discovered that three genes are shared exclusively by plants forming intracellular symbiosis and lost in plants unable to form this type of beneficial relationship.
"Our study demonstrates that diverse types of intracellular symbioses that plants form with different symbiotic partners are built on top of a conserved genetic program." said Dr Guru Radhakrishnan, lead author of the study and a BBSRC Discovery Fellow at the John Innes Centre.
The research, led by Dr Radhakrishnan in the UK and Dr Pierre-Marc Delaux in France, was conducted as part of the Engineering Nitrogen Symbiosis for Africa (ENSA) project sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.
ENSA is an international collaboration aiming at transferring naturally occurring symbioses to cereal crops to limit the use of chemical fertilizers and to improve yield in small-holder farms of sub-Saharan Africa where access to these fertilizers is limited.
"By demonstrating that different plant symbioses share a common genetic basis, our ambitious goal has become more realistic," says Dr Radhakrishnan.
An ancestral signaling pathway is conserved in plant lineages forming intracellular symbioses is in Nature Plants
Adrian Galvin | EurekAlert!
TU Dresden chemists develop noble metal aerogels for electrochemical hydrogen production and other applications
06.04.2020 | Technische Universität Dresden
First SARS-CoV-2 genomes in Austria openly available
03.04.2020 | CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
Electrolytes play a key role in many areas: They are crucial for the storage of energy in our body as well as in batteries. In order to release energy, ions - charged atoms - must move in a liquid such as water. Until now the precise mechanism by which they move through the atoms and molecules of the electrolyte has, however, remained largely unknown. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have now shown that the electrical resistance of an electrolyte, which is determined by the motion of ions, can be traced back to microscopic vibrations of these dissolved ions.
In chemistry, common table salt is also known as sodium chloride. If this salt is dissolved in water, sodium and chloride atoms dissolve as positively or...
Drops of water falling on or sliding over surfaces may leave behind traces of electrical charge, causing the drops to charge themselves. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz have now begun a detailed investigation into this phenomenon that accompanies us in every-day life. They developed a method to quantify the charge generation and additionally created a theoretical model to aid understanding. According to the scientists, the observed effect could be a source of generated power and an important building block for understanding frictional electricity.
Water drops sliding over non-conducting surfaces can be found everywhere in our lives: From the dripping of a coffee machine, to a rinse in the shower, to an...
90 million-year-old forest soil provides unexpected evidence for exceptionally warm climate near the South Pole in the Cretaceous
An international team of researchers led by geoscientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have now...
The bacteria that cause tuberculosis need iron to survive. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now solved the first detailed structure of the transport protein responsible for the iron supply. When the iron transport into the bacteria is inhibited, the pathogen can no longer grow. This opens novel ways to develop targeted tuberculosis drugs.
One of the most devastating pathogens that lives inside human cells is Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis. According to the...
An international team with the participation of Prof. Dr. Michael Kues from the Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD at Leibniz University Hannover has developed a new method for generating quantum-entangled photons in a spectral range of light that was previously inaccessible. The discovery can make the encryption of satellite-based communications much more secure in the future.
A 15-member research team from the UK, Germany and Japan has developed a new method for generating and detecting quantum-entangled photons at a wavelength of...
06.04.2020 | Event News
02.04.2020 | Event News
26.03.2020 | Event News
06.04.2020 | Life Sciences
06.04.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
06.04.2020 | Social Sciences