Scientists at Wageningen University & Research discovered in 2021 how
cells of/Phytophthora infestans/attack the plant by slicing open its
skin. In another study, it has been revealed how the microscopic
attackers sharpen its weapons. The results are published in/Science
/Phytophthora infestans/causes the potato blight disease by hitchhiking
on water droplets during rainfall. Then the single-celled water mold
lands on the leaf and activates an ingenious mechanism. The mold is
composed of an internal skeleton in a tubular structure. The researchers
found that this skeleton, made up of threadlike proteins, detects
contact with plant in 10 seconds. Then the cell changes its formation to
make a ninja-like blade with a sharp point, which it used to cut open
The researchers called the mechanism as mechanostat, which involves
ensuring that the blade remains sharp all through the infection process.
The sharpness is defined by the mechanostat based on the pressure it
detects from the plant.
This discovery provides insights on developing new forms of pest control.