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Protein Discovery Reveals How Fungi Bypasses Plant Defenses
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: May 03, 2022 09:32AM

A research team led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural
Research Service and Washington State University (WSU) found that
the/Sclerotinia sclerotiorum/fungus uses a protein to bypass the natural
defenses of plants and cause extensive rot in hundreds of broad leaf
plant varieties.

According to Weidong Chen, corresponding author of the paper published
in/Nature Communications/, Sclerotinia causes stem rot on more than 600
plant species, including peas, lentils, canola, potatoes,soybeans, and
many other broad leaf crops. Plants rot when a pathogen degrades their
cell walls, breaking down the plant by secreting chemicals called
polygalacturonases (PG). In 1971, it was discovered that plants protect
themselves using an inhibitor protein called PGIP. Since that discovery,
scientists have wondered how certain pathogens, such as the Sclerotinia
fungus, get around the inhibitor protein to cause extensive rot.

Chen and his colleagues discovered that a protein secreted by
Sclerotinia cells, called SsPINE1, inactivates a plant's defenses. To
prove that SsPINE1 allowed Sclerotinia to bypass plant defenses, the
team deleted the protein in fungi in the lab, which dramatically reduced
its impact.

??It's exciting that we found this new protein,? said Wei Wei, a WSU
post-doctoral researcher and first author of the paper. ??We hope that
this helps increase resistance to fungal infections in plants around the

Discovery reveals how fungi bypasses plant defenses, kills plants ?? WSU

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