Recent Posts

Insect herbivory selects for volatile-mediated plant-plant communication ($) (Current Biology)

Plants release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in response to insect herbivory. The potential for VOCs to serve as diffusible signals has long been recognized. For example, VOCs can signal neighbors to prime for defense, signal distant parts of the emitting plant, and even attract predatory insects…

Effector gene reshuffling involves dispensable mini chromosomes in wheat blast fungus (PLOS Genetics)

The emerging disease wheat blast is devastating and has the capacity to cause 100% yield loss. Wheat blast is caused by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae pathotype Triticum (MoT). This pathotype is distinct from most of the pathotypes that causes disease in other plants such as M. oryzae Oryza (MoO) in rice.…

Plant microbe co-evolution: Allicin resistance in Pseudomonas fluorescens (bioRxiv)

Garlic (Allium sativum L.) produces allicin (diallylthiosulfinate), which is an antibiotic defense substance. It can oxidize thiols in celular targets such as cysteines and glutathione.  Because allicin has multiple sites and mechanisms of action, it is difficult for an organism to become resistant.…

Exploring the hydraulic failure hypothesis of esca leaf symptom formation (Plant Phys)

Esca is a leaf scorch (necrosis) disease of grapevine that causes tremendous yield losses. Bortolami et al. have investigated the etiology of this condition, which is known to be a consequence of fungal pathogen infection. But how exactly does the fungal infection contribute to the observed symptoms?…

Genome sequence of Striga asiatica provides insight into the evolution of plant parasitism (Curr Biol)

The parasitic plant Striga asiatica is both a serious agricultural pest and a fascinating plant oddity. Yoshida et al. report its genome sequence, which provides a glimpse into how a plant becomes an obligate parasite. Three key findings are the tremendous expansion of receptors for strigolactones (host-released…

A single amino-acid substitution impairs PTI and ETI in an SA-dependent manner in rice ($) (Plant Physiol)

Plants possess two immune strategies to prevent invasion by pathogens called pattern-triggered immunity (PTI, typically mediated by cell-surface receptors) and effector-triggered immunity (ETI). During ETI, intracellular resistance (R) proteins perceive specific pathogen effectors. Tang et al. describe…

Review. Fellowship of the rings: a saga of strigolactones and other small signals (New Phytol)

Strigolactones are small signal molecules synthesized by plants. In the past few years, many studies highlighting the importance of this emerging phytohormone have been published. Strigolactones play important roles as a hormonal signals in plants and for mycorrhizal fungi interactions, they are present…

A CLE–SUNN module regulates strigolactone content and symbiosis (Nature Plants)

The symbiosis between plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi is conditional. Plants that are limited for phosphate release strigolactones into the soil, promoting changes in the fungi that facilitate the symbiosis. Müller et al. found that a Medicago gene encoding a CLE peptide, MtCLE53, is induced…

The ectomycorrhizal fungus Laccaria bicolor produces lipochitooligosaccharides and uses the common symbiosis pathway ($) (Plant Cell)

Nutrient exchange during plant-fungal symbiosis allows assimilation of nutrients necessary for plant growth in a beneficial way. Several plants have evolved to form symbioses with mycorrhizal fungi and rhizobia bacteria that allow the plants to efficiently take up nitrogen and phosphorous. In its interactions…