Recent Posts

Fungal exopolysaccharide regulates plant-microbe interaction (Plant Cell)

The studies on the apoplastic interactions of plants and fungi often focus on the fungal cell-wall, but recent studies indicate various plant colonizing fungi also have an exopolysaccharide (EPS) layer outside their cell wall. Chandrasekar et al. observed that the composition of this fungal EPS is distinct…

Bacterial avirulence gene encodes for a secreted protease and restricts host range (Mol Plant Path)

Plant pathogenic bacteria of the genus Clavibacter tend to have a narrow host range, but different species affect many important crops. Clavibacter michiganensis (Cm) causes bacterial wilt and canker in tomato, pepper and a few varieties of eggplant. There are no Cm-resistant tomato varieties but many…

A plant gene that shapes its ecosystem (Science)

Keystone species shape the structure of an entire ecosystem, but can a gene determine structure of the whole ecosystem?  A recent study indicates yes, some genes can, and such genes are called keystone genes. Barbour et al. set up a small ecosystem containing two herbivore aphids, one predator of these…

An oomycete peptide cytolysin forms transient small pores in lipid membranes (Sci. Adv.)

NLPs (Necrosis and ethylene-inducing peptide 1–like proteins) are small peptides produced by a variety of plant pathogens. Some NLPs are cytolysins meaning that they trigger lysis of their target cells. Here, Pirc et al. use an assortment of tools including molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, neutron…

Review: A rulebook for peptide control of legume–microbe endosymbiosis (Trends in Plant Sci)

Symbiotic associations with bacterial or fungal partners enhance nutrient uptake for most plants, and recent years have uncovered the very sophisticated means by which these associations are established and controlled. Peptides have emerged as key regulators of many facets of mycorrhizal and rhizobial…

Nitrate transporter NRT2.1 is a determinant of a nitrogen acquisition switch between nitrate uptake and symbiosis in Lotus japonicus (Plant Cell)

When nitrogen or nitrate availability is high, symbiotic nodule generation is curtailed to conserve the associated energy cost. But how does the presence of nitrate interfere with nodulation and symbiosis?  Previously, genetic studies identified nitrate unresponsive symbiosis (nrsym) mutants in Lotus…

Arabidopsis CHROMATIN REMODELING 19 acts as a transcriptional repressor and contributes to plant pathogen resistance (Plant Cell)

Chromatin remodellers are highly conserved eukaryotic proteins with regulatory roles in various aspects of DNA metabolism including DNA repair, gene expression and mitosis. Here, Kang et al. examine the function of the CHROMATIN REMODELLING19 (CHR19) in Arabidopsis thaliana. Using two T-DNA insertion…

Serendipity: Story of breeding dual resistance (Nature Comms)

How would you feel if you developed a plant that is tolerant to a particular stress stimulus and found out that it can also tolerate another stress? Bettgenhaeuser and found that this happened when plant breeders developed barley varieties resistant to the powdery mildew disease (caused by the fungal…

MAP kinase cascade acts as a hub to decide the ways to fight infection (Sci. Adv.)

Much of our understanding of plant immunity comes from studies of pathogens that infect mesophyll tissues, (e.g., Pseudomonas syringae). However, there are many pathogens that specifically invade vascular tissues (e.g., Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae; Xoo), which causes rice bacterial blight. In a recent…