Biotech Updates

Scientists Reveal Process in Plants-Soil Microbes Interaction

November 7, 2012

Researchers from John Innes Centre (JIC), the Sainsbury Laboratory, Rothamstead Research and the University of York have identified the mechanism by which plants interact with the microbes in the soil. They also tracked the genes that assist plants in the said process. Among the important plant-microbe interactions are those with mycorrhizal fungi which contributes to plant's uptake of nutrients such as phosphate; and with bacteria that ‘fix' atmospheric nitrogen that serves as fertilizer in some plants, particularly legumes.

The study reveals that two interactions are mediated within the plant by a common signaling pathway. The researchers have identified a specific mycorrhizal transcription factor. They also show how the signalling pathway has been recruited by pathogenic microbes, presenting a challenge to the plant. The research further conclude that its ability to form beneficial interactions can leave it vulnerable to invasion by pathogens.

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