Understanding how plant resistance proteins trigger cell death could lead to strategies for engineering disease resistance in crops.
Plants, like humans and animals, have over millions of years evolved complex immune systems that fend off invading pathogens. But unlike many animals, plants lack adaptive immunity conferred by antibodies. This means each plant cell must defend itself against all potential pathogens – a daunting task.
Hiding inside each plant cell, protein complexes encoded by disease resistance genes are like sleeping armies, waking up and activating defenses when harmful pathogens such as fungi or bacteria are detected. Such genes encode traits used by agricultural biotechnologists to generate disease-resistant crops, and plant biologists are striving to illuminate every aspect of how they work – much of which remains shrouded in mystery…[READ MORE]