Biotech Updates

Study Finds Plants Send Out Signals that Attract Harmful Bacteria

April 30, 2014

A team of researchers from the University of Missouri (MU) found that plants produce a molecular signal that invites a pathogen attack. Scott Peck, biochemistry professor in the Bond Life Sciences Center at MU and research team leader said that scientists paid a lot of attention to how plants and other organisms recognize and respond to invading microbes, but little attention has been paid to how the signals transmitted by the organisms that are being attacked play a role in the process.

They found out that signaling system in the plant triggers a structure in bacteria shaped like a syringe which is used to "inject" the bacteria's harmful proteins into its target. They also found a group of five acids from plants that trigger the bacteria. The results of their research show that a plant can disguise itself from pathogen recognition by removing the signals needed by the pathogen to become fully virulent. The team's discovery will help scientists develop plants with strong resistance to infection and create natural defenses for plants that could render bacteria harmless.

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