Fungal pathogens that infect plants and pollen making its way to the egg utilize some of the same molecular components, such that mutations in shared genes may provide resistance to infection, but also reduce fertility, according to a study published this week in Science.
Powdery mildew fungal infection
Image: Wikimedia commons, The Bugwood Network
University of Georgia and the USDA Forest Service
The results may offer new leads in the study of disease resistance and hold important implications for engineering pathogen-resistant crops."I think [it's] very interesting how a plant pathogen has managed to [take advantage of] an essential program in the plant for its own benefit and the completion of its own life cycle," said plant geneticist linkurl:Martin Parniske; of the Institute of Genetics of the University of Munich, who was not involved in the research. Because some of the genes involved in infection and fertilization are the same,...
ArabidopsisnortianortianortiaferonianortiaferoniaferoniaferoniaScienceS.A. Kessler, et al., "Conserved molecular components for pollen tube reception and fungal invasion," Science, 330: 968-71, 2010.

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