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The co-evolution of plant—pathogen interactions has been revealed in unprecedented detail in a study of one of the world's deadliest crop killers. This is the rice blast pathogen, which destroys enough food to feed more than 60 million people every year—almost the population of the UK.
Plants, like animals, have an innate immune system that includes receptors to detect the presence of pathogens, and upon activation resist infection. Researchers at the John Innes Centre have unravelled how rice plants have evolved bespoke defence solutions against different variants of the rice blast pathogen.
Team - Professor - Mark - Banfield - Receptor
The team, led by Professor Mark Banfield, focussed on an immune receptor in rice to show how it has evolved to recognise multiple versions of a pathogen effector protein, a molecule used by the fungus to promote disease, in a sort-of "molecular handshake". This recognition leads to the disease being stopped in its tracks.
The team behind this work included Ph.D. student Juan Carlos De la Concepcion and postdoctoral researcher Marina Franceschetti, as well as colleagues from The Sainsbury...
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