2015 Print
A Better Understanding of Plant Immune Response Could Lead to Better Crops
Other Funding | Food Security
Missouri | University of Missouri Agriculture Experiment Station | North Central Region
Mechanism ID'ed that will help plants fight disease.
Impact Statement:
Plants have mechanisms for protection against pathogens including bacteria, but if a plant is unable to effectively induce and control its defenses, pathogenic bacteria invade and colonize the host, which can lead to reduced yield and nutritional quality of crops.
Each year, millions of dollars are lost from damage to crops and ornamental plants caused by pathogens.
A University of Missouri research team has uncovered new regulations of defense pathways for plants. This discovery could lead to helping garden plants like tomatoes fight off certain bacteria better and has implications for pear trees, roses, soybeans and rice.
Previously, researchers thought that a plant defended itself against bacteria by activating a specific, several-step process. The MU team found that if the plant is exposed to bacteria, it actually activates its immune system using three separate mechanisms.  Each mechanism responding to the infection is doing so independently of the other two mechanisms, and that each of these mechanisms must have the right amount of specific proteins, called immune receptors, in the right place to respond appropriately. Having the right combination provides the plant with an effective and efficient immune response.
This discovery could allow future scientists to create new strategies to help plants fight disease and lead to better crops.
Randy Mertens
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.