Biotech Updates

Plants Recognize Pathogenic and Beneficial Microorganisms

November 7, 2012

Scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark and other research institutions reported new important characteristics of biomolecular interactions that help plants recognize and respond appropriately to beneficial or pathogenic microorganisms.

The international research team used multidisciplinary approaches in the investigation involving advanced biochemistry, chemoselective chemistry, and microbial genetics. They characterized a specific modified chitin molecule (Nod factor) molecules secreted from rhizobia and chitin from pathogenic microorganisms from the model legume Lotus japonicus. It was found that the plant's detection of ligands occur through receptor proteins located on the surface of cells. The ligand recognition through direct Nod factor binding is important in the development of root nodules in legumes. The team further analyzed the molecular activity by expressing the receptor proteins in heterogenous plant-based systems and extracted them from membrane fractions.

The results of the study could help attain sustainable agriculture wherein beneficial microorganisms could replace pesticides.

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