February 19, 2013
LATE BLIGHT PATHOGEN BLOCKS RNA SILENCING PATHWAYS
|Print | Back|
When a pathogen attacks a plant, infection usually follows after the plant’s immune system is compromised. A team of researchers at the
The genus Phytophthora contains many notorious pathogens of crops. Phytophthora pathogens cause worldwide losses of more than $6 billion each year on potato (Phytophthora infestans) and about $2 billion each year on soybean (Phytophthora sojae).
The researchers, led by Wenbo Ma, an associate professor of plant pathology and microbiology, focused their attention on a class of essential virulence proteins produced by a broad range of pathogens, including Phytophthora, called “effectors.” The effectors are delivered to, and function only in, the cells of the host plants the pathogens attack. The researchers found that Phytophthora effectors blocked the RNA silencing pathways in their host plants (such as potato, tomato and soybean), resulting first in a suppression of host immunity and thereafter in an increase in the plants’ susceptibility to disease.
© 2013 Potato Grower® Magazine