Gene used by bacteria to breach plant defences identifiedMarch 4th, 2011 - 6:20 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Mar 4 (ANI): Scientists have identified the gene used by some infectious bacteria to breach defensive natural products produced by plants.
Plants are able to protect themselves from most bacteria, but some bacteria are able to breach their defences.
“Microbes only become pathogens when they find a way to infect a host and overwhelm the host defences,” said lead author Jun Fan from the John Innes Centre on the Norwich Research Park.
“Our findings answer some important questions about host-pathogen biology,” he added.
Scientists have confirmed that the chemicals used by cruciferous plants to defend against bacteria are isothiocyanates, nitrogen and sulphur-containing organic compounds produced by plants of the mustard family, such as cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
These potent molecules have antioxidant, anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties in humans.
The plant releases isothiocyanates when it is challenged or eaten. They had previously been shown to be active against bacteria but this is the first time their essential role has been successfully tested using real plants.
Without this class of compounds, crucifers would be more vulnerable to disease from a much wider variety of bacteria.
Isothiocyanates also provide a chemical barrier to harmful fungi and a toxic defence warning to insects and other herbivores.
Scientists from JIC and the University of Edinburgh found that bacterial pathogens carrying the sax genes, thought to be involved in detoxification and removal of isothiocyanates, were able to overcome these defences.
Understanding how some bacterial strains become specialised to overcome plant resistance will help scientists identify new ways to improve crop plants.
“These discoveries have a broader significance for current efforts to increase food security,” said co-author Dr Peter Doerner from Edinburgh University.
The study has been published in Science. (ANI)
- How plants fight diseases - Mar 29, 2011
- Garlic beats antibiotics in quelling food-borne illness - May 04, 2012
- Chemical mechanism behind bugs' antibiotic resistance identified - Apr 29, 2011
- Bacteria more likely to adopt 'loner' genes than well-connected ones - Mar 17, 2011
- How pathogenic bacteria hide inside host cells - Jan 27, 2011
- Marine microbes fend enemies with antibiotics - Sep 07, 2012
- How cholera bug invades the gut - Jan 29, 2012
- Gene discovery could lead to healthier food, better biofuel production - Nov 23, 2010
- Antibiotic shows promise in silencing resistant bugs - Oct 30, 2011
- Spacebound bacteria inspire earthly remedies - Mar 22, 2011
- Chemical compound effective in destroying antibiotic-resistant biofilms - Apr 09, 2010
- Indian defence scientists develop bio-toilets for soldiers (With Image) - Feb 18, 2011
- Chemical compounds in trees can fight deadly MRSA - Feb 23, 2011
- 'Sewage treatment plants abet growth of superbugs' - Dec 11, 2011
- Insects use plants as 'green phones' - Jun 13, 2012
Tags: bacterial pathogens, bacterial strains, chemical barrier, crop plants, cruciferous plants, doerner, dr peter, edinburgh university, food security, harmful fungi, infectious bacteria, jic, john innes centre, microbes, mustard family, norwich research park, organic compounds, plant defences, plant resistance, university of edinburgh