John Innes Centre (JIC) researchers discovered how rice plants have evolved
custom-built defense solutions against different variants of the rice blast
pathogen. The results of the study are published in Nature Plants.
Rice blast pathogen destroys enough food to feed over 60 million people per
year. The team, led by Prof. Mark Banfield, focused on rice immune receptor
to study how it has evolved to recognize several versions of a pathogen
effector protein, a molecule used by the pathogen to promote disease working
as "molecular handshake". This recognition leads to the disease being
stopped in its tracks.
According to the researchers, understanding the molecular mechanisms
involved in plant immunity could lead to engineering disease resistance
against multiple crop pathogens.