Recent Posts

Review: Devastating intimacy: the cell biology of plant–Phytophthora interactions (New Phytol)

Phytophthora are plant-destroying oomycetes. Within this genus are several infamous disease-causing agents: P. infestans of the potato late-blight fame, P. sojae of soybean root rot, P. ramorum of sudden oak death, and many other lesser-known species. This fine new review by Boevink et al. explores the…

Review: Evolution of virulence in rust fungi — multiple solutions to one problem (COPB)

Rust fungi are a diverse group (more than 7800 species) of phytopathogenic fungi that cause considerable economic loss. (Coincidently, I’m writing on Robigalia, the Roman “anti-rust” festival, which dates from before we understood that microbes, not gods, cause disease). Figurero et al. have written…

A plant secondary metabolite selectively targets bacterial pathogenicity (Cell Host Microbe)

Plants have a variety of secondary metabolites that are associated with defense against pathogens, but the mode of action of such metabolites is poorly understood. Wang et al. revealed that the Arabidopsis secondary metabolite sulforaphane (SFN), which is derived from aliphatic glucosinolate, suppresses…

CsIVP functions in vasculature development and downy mildew resistance in cucumber (PLOS Biol)

High yielding crops are often less resistant to pathogens and vice versa, suggesting that there is an underlying mechanism co-regulating development and disease resistance in plants. Yan et al. identified a transcription factor in cucumber (CsIVP) that regulates vascular development and resistance to…

Auxin response factor targeted by viruses (PNAS)

Auxin regulates various aspects of plant growth and development and it also contributes to plant defense. Auxin activates downstream signaling by promoting degradation of the repressor Aux/IAA proteins to liberate the key transcription factors ARFs (auxin response factors). Pathogens have been known…

A plant kinase exploited by a bacterial effector (bioRxiv)

Pathogens have evolved a suite of effector proteins that are secreted into plants and aid successful colonization. AvrPtoB is a well-conserved effector of pathogenic Pseudomonas syringae strains that targets multiple plant defense-related proteins and is required for pathogen virulence and bacterial…

The pan-genome effector-triggered immunity landscape (Science)

Successful plant pathogens produce a suite of small molecules called effectors that are injected into plant cells and perturb plant defense. As a counter defense, plants have evolved intracellular receptors (called NLRs; nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat) that detect specific effectors and…

Using CRISPR/Cas9 editing to inactivate an endogenous virus impacting bananas (Commun. Biol.)

Banana streak virus (BSV) is a plant pathogenic pararetrovirus that has integrated into the genome of banana Musa spp., reducing crop production. When BSV-infected banana plants become stressed, BSV reactivates to create functional infectious viruses that can cause lethal tissue necrosis. Tripathi et…

Perception of Agrobacterium tumefaciens flagellin by FLS2XL confers resistance to crown gall disease (Nature Plants)

FLS2 is a well-characterized cell-surface receptor that recognizes a short epitope found on most bacterial flagellin proteins. The plant pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens, causative agent of crown gall disease, deviates strongly at this epitope region, and so is generally not recognized by FLS2 receptors,…