Recent Posts

Nanoscale movements of cellulose microfibrils in primary cell walls ($)

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Cell walls are complex mixtures of cellulose microfibrils, proteins and other materials. Their mechanical properties can be measured and modeled, but it is not always simple to translate these measurements to changes at the molecular level. Zhang et al. used atomic force microscopy to provide an unprecedented…

Plantae Presents: Sophien Kamoun and Phil Carella

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Plantae Presents - Sophien Kamoun and Phil Carella Recorded Wednesday September 16 10am EDT, 4pm CET Sophien Kamoun: Evolutionary dynamics of NLR immune receptors in plants Sophien Kamoun is senior scientist at the Sainsbury Laboratory and professor of biology at the University of East Anglia.…

An interactome of plant autophagy proteins and pathogen effectors (Cell Host Microbe) ($)

Autophagy is a regulated process whereby select cytoplasmic components are degraded. It is involved in a variety of biological processes, including defense against pathogens. As such, plant pathogens have evolved mechanisms to target host autophagy machinery to gain virulence. However, we still lack…

Extracellular proteolytic cascade in tomato activates immune protease Rcr3 (PNAS)

The plant apoplast is a sea of immune-related proteins that facilitate robust defense against pathogens. Rcr3 is a tomato secreted apoplastic protease that contributes to both basal defense and gene-for-gene resistance against pathogens. Rcr3 is activated by the cleavage of its autoinhibitory prodomain,…

Multidimensional gene regulatory landscape of a bacterial pathogen in plants (Nature Plants)

The outcome of a plant-bacteria interaction is determined by the bacterial virulence and plant immune systems. Individually, these systems, and to an extent their interactions, have been well studied. However, certain aspects of their interactions remain elusive, particularly how plant immunity affects…

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…