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What's a viroid like you doing in a ribosome like this? This is the question set out by a team from the Institute for Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology (IBMCP, in Spanish), a joint center of the Universitat Politècnica de València and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC, in Spanish). The answer opens a door, unknown until now, to fight viroids. These pathogens have great infectious power in plants, and they are one of the biggest enemies of crops, especially citrus crops.
From their laboratories, scientists have described for the first time how a pathogen–in this case the citrus exocortis viroid–can cause ribosomal stress in plants, which directly affects their physiological state. The study, whose conclusions have been published in the renowned journal Nucleic Acids Research, also includes the participation of researchers from the Université de Sherbrooke (Québec, Canada) and the Goethe University (Frankfurt, Germany).
Study - Dimension - Pathogenesis - Time - Viroids
"This study opens a new dimension in viroid pathogenesis. This is the first time that viroids, plant pathogens, have been proven to cause a failure in ribosome assembly, which is needed for protein biosynthesis," explains Purificación Lisón, researcher at the IBMCP and lecturer at School of Agricultural Engineering and Environment (ETSIAMN), UPV.
In the protein synthesis process, known as "translation," the ribosome is the molecular machinery responsible for reading and decoding the messenger RNA sequence and turning it into a protein sequence. In the study, the team of Spanish, Canadian and German researchers has proved how the viroid is capable of modifying this process, and "the bigger this alteration is, the sicker the plant becomes," explains Purificación Lisón.
But how can...
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