Plants that come under attack from pathogens have an automatic immune response. Fungi get around this plant immunity by injecting proteins into the host plant cells. These 'effector proteins' enable the fungi to escape the plant's immune system and allow the fungal cells to enter the plant unrecognised.
Exeter scientists have now shown that signalling organelles, known as 'early endosomes' act as long distance messengers in the fungi. They travel rapidly along long tube-like cells between the plant-invading fungal cell tip and the fungal cell nucleus.
This rapid communication between the point of invasion and the fungal cell nucleus enables the fungus to produce the effector proteins that help evade the plant's immune response from the moment the fungus enters the host tissue.
This signalling mechanism occurs very early in the fungal infection process, at a time when the fungi are most accessible to fungicide treatment. Disabling the process could result in a new generation of fungicides that are able to act before the fungus has damaged the plant.
Professor Gero Steinberg from the University of Exeter said: "Pathogenic fungi are a major threat to our food security – they can devastate crops and cost billions of pounds worth of damage. In fact, losses of wheat, rice, and maize to fungal pathogens, per year, are the same as the annual spend by US Department of Homeland Security – some 60 billion US dollars.
As fast growing microbes, fungi adapt rapidly to anti-fungal treatments and so we need to develop new fungicides all the time. Our research has led to a better understanding of the mechanisms by which the intruder attacks and overcomes the plant defence. In order to efficiently protect crops, we must better understand molecular mechanisms like these that occur in the very earliest stages of infection."
Speaking about the research, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Nick Talbot said "The University of Exeter is committed to tackling fundamental research questions to help control plant diseases, which threaten our food supply. We have built a very strong team of researchers studying fungal biology and plant pathology. This exciting discovery by Prof Steinberg's group provides a new potential route to disease control."
The research was supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
The paper, 'Long-distance endosome trafficking drives fungal effector production during plant infection', is published in the journal Nature Communications.
Jo Bowler | Eurek Alert!
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences