New Insight Into Plant Immune Defenses

Researchers in the University of Edinburgh, UK led by Professor Gary Loake have reason to believe that the enzyme NADPH oxidase could be the control in protecting plants from invading pathogen. Plants respond to pathogen attack by triggering the production of nitric oxide (NO) and a class of ‘reactive oxygen intermediates' (ROIs) such as hydrogen peroxide and ‘free radicals'. These chemicals are toxic to  invading organism, and are key to encouraging cell death if they are threatened. NADPH oxidase is a critical enzyme in the production of these ROIs.

"NADPH oxidase is really important in human as well as plant immunity, and we've been able to show how it is regulated in a normal immune response. We hope that plant breeders will be able to use this information to develop disease-resistant varieties. Our discovery might also open new opportunities to treat human immune disorders, such as CGD, " said Loake.

The paper is published in the journal Nature. The news can be viewed at


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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