Recent Posts

Tapping into the genetic diversity of wild crops for engineering disease resistance (Nature Biotech)

Lack of sequence information makes harnessing the diversity of disease resistance (R) genes in wild crops highly challenging. Arora and Steuernagel et al. report AgRenSeq, a reference genome-free technique, for rapid cloning of nucleotide binding/Leucine-rich repeat (NLR) resistance genes from wild…

The global burden of pathogens and pests on major food crops (Nature Ecol Evol) ($)

Pathogens and pests are bad, but just how bad? And how do different regions of the world compare in terms of crop losses to pathogens and pests? Savary et al. surveyed crop experts from across the globe to address these questions, focusing on five major food crops (wheat, rice, maize, potato and soybean).…

Leaf age dictates abiotic versus biotic stress signalling in Arabidopsis (PNAS)

Plants sense and respond to various external stimuli throughout their lifespan. During stress responses brought forth by abiotic or biotic factors, molecular and physiological adjustments mediated by distinct yet interconnected hormone pathways play critical roles in plant survival. Berens et al. investigate…

Plant-pathogen arms race: A pathogen effector protein inhibits trans-kingdom RNAi (Cell Host & Microbe)

Phytophthora spp. are highly aggressive fungus-like pathogens that cause various blight and rot diseases in many crops. Upon invasion of host cells, Phytophthora delivers thousands of effector proteins. Some of these effectors suppress the host RNA silencing pathway, which is mediated by a diverse…

A smut fungus of Brassicaceae plants uses conserved and unique strategies to manipulate perennial hosts ($) New Phytol.

Biotrophic phytopathogens manipulate living hosts for the procurement of nutrients essential for growth and reproduction. It is therefore critical for invading biotrophs to evade or suppress immune responses without impacting overall plant function. In a recent study published in New Phytologist (2019),…

Characterizing both bacteria and fungi improves understanding of the Arabidopsis root microbiome (Sci Reports)

Microbes that live in, on and near plants profoundly affect their growth and survival. Here, Bergelson et al. sequenced the bacterial and fungal microbiomes of Arabidopsis roots (previously they sequenced samples from leaves). The accessions are from all over the world but the sequenced samples are from…

Chloroplasts navigate towards the pathogen interface to counteract Phytophthora infection (bioRxiv)

Chloroplasts have diverse roles in plant defense, including contributing to the production of defense compounds. Toufexi, Duggan et al. show new data indicating the dynamic relocation of chloroplasts to the contact point of the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Infection also causes an increase…

The mechanism by which MYC2 regulates the termination of jasmonic acid signaling

Source: Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology Published: 2019-01-11. Translated from the original. As an important plant hormone, jasmonic acid regulates plant defense responses and adaptive growth. When the plant is exposed to pests or other stresses, the active jasmonic…

The secret of NIN (Nodule Inception) ($) (Plant Cell)

Twenty years ago, a genetic screen of Lotus japonicas identified NIN (NODULE INCEPTION), a transcription factor required for both early (infection thread) and late (nodule primordium development) stages of nodule formation. In daphne (a weak allele of NIN), infection threads form but not nodule primordia,…