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Metabolic engineering with systems biology tools to optimize production of prokaryotic secondary metabolites

Metabolic engineering with systems biology tools to optimize production of prokaryotic secondary metabolites | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it
Metabolic engineering using systems biology tools is increasingly applied to overproduce secondary metabolites for their potential industrial production. In this Highlight, recent relevant metabolic engineering studies are analyzed with emphasis on host selection and engineering approaches for the optimal production of various prokaryotic secondary metabolites: native versus heterologous hosts (e.g., Escherichia coli) and rational versus random approaches. This comparative analysis is followed by discussions on systems biology tools deployed in optimizing the production of secondary metabolites. The potential contributions of additional systems biology tools are also discussed in the context of current challenges encountered during optimization of secondary metabolite production.

 

Hyun Uk Kim,*ab   Pep Charusanti,b   Sang Yup Leeab and   Tilmann Weber*b  

 

Nat. Prod. Rep., 2016, Advance Article


DOI: 10.1039/C6NP00019C


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Metabolic engineering with systems biology tools to optimize production of prokaryotic secondary metabolites

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Evidence for the sexual origin of heterokaryosis in arbuscular
mycorrhizal fungi

Evidence for the sexual origin of heterokaryosis in arbuscular<br/>                    mycorrhizal fungi | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it
Sexual reproduction is ubiquitous among eukaryotes, and fully asexual lineages are extremely rare. Prominent among ancient asexual lineages are the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), a group of plant symbionts with a multinucleate cytoplasm. Genomic divergence among co-existing nuclei was proposed to drive the evolutionary success of AMF in the absence of sex1, but this hypothesis has been contradicted by recent genome analyses that failed to find significant genetic diversity within an AMF isolate2,3. Here, we set out to resolve issues surrounding the genome organization and sexual potential of AMF by exploring the genomes of five isolates of Rhizophagus irregularis, a model AMF. We find that genetic diversity in this species varies among isolates and is structured in a homo-dikaryon-like manner usually linked with the existence of a sexual life cycle. We also identify a putative AMF mating-type locus, containing two genes with structural and evolutionary similarities with the mating-type locus of some Dikarya. Our analyses suggest that this locus may be multi-allelic and that AMF could be heterothallic and bipolar. These findings reconcile opposing views on the genome organization of these ubiquitous plant symbionts and open avenues for strain improvement and environmental application of these organisms.

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Center for Strategic and International Studies: Severe, Climate Change-driven Wheat Fungus Found in Bangladesh, Highlighting Need for Risk Management Programs (2016)

Center for Strategic and International Studies: Severe, Climate Change-driven Wheat Fungus Found in Bangladesh, Highlighting Need for Risk Management Programs (2016) | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

Bangladesh, once derisively referred to by Henry Kissinger as a “basket case” for its seemingly intractable poverty, has made impressive strides across development sectors in the past three decades, particularly in agriculture. But an aggressive new wheat fungus, never before observed outside of the Americas, is threatening to destroy much of its wheat crop while pushing smallholder farmers deeper into poverty. The fungus, known as wheat blast, was only confirmed at the end of February, but its impacts in some communities are already catastrophic.

 

While, and perhaps because, the harrowing incident and aftermath of the 1974 famine (with an estimated death toll of up to 1.5 million) still loom heavily in the national political consciousness, Bangladesh has more than tripled rice production since independence, from about 10 million metric tons in 1971 to 35 million today. No longer reliant on imports for its staple crop, it now seeks to expand and diversify both cereal and horticultural production. In so doing, smallholder farmers, who have historically grown one rice crop per year, are now expanding their production to two and sometimes three annual crop cycles. This shift, if enacted at sufficient scale, has the potential to buttress and smooth incomes in some of the country’s most vulnerable communities while simultaneously supporting dietary diversity and nutritional gains.

 

As 1 of 19 Feed the Future focus countries, Bangladesh has also seen substantial U.S. government investment in agriculturally driven poverty reduction on the order of $50 million per year since the presidential initiative was launched in 2010. This robust resource stream has supported investments in deep-placement fertilizer, which is both more cost effective and more environmentally friendly; in improved mechanization and irrigation processes; in both the quality of and access to inputs (seed varieties, soil testing, pest management, advisory services); and in a battery of market integration activities from feeder road improvement to aggregation and auction centers to information and communications technology solutions, which correct information asymmetries for smallholders. Many interventions incorporate strong private-sector partnerships to maximize sustainability.

 

A perennial challenge of such development program-led structural transformation relates to the mass adoption of new behaviors. Even in the face of compelling evidence that new practices will lead to significant economic gains for poor households, a host of rational impediments to large-scale behavioral change persists. Farming is a particularly risk-exposed enterprise, extraordinarily so for Bangladeshi smallholders, and the introduction of new and complex risks associated with unfamiliar practices is understandably unpalatable (development economists have written on the challenges of behavior change extensively; the Center for Global Development published an engaging and accessible policy paper in 2012). The cyclical nature of agricultural production also requires substantial front-end investments that are only recuperated many months later, if the harvest is successful. Credit-constrained smallholders are often unable to smooth their expenses accordingly, while also maintaining sufficient resources on hand for daily consumption needs.

 

It is, then, no small feat to manage the broad adoption of new crops, but Feed the Future, in partnership with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) has achieved this in Bangladesh’s southern delta region through the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA). In recent years, CSISA has supported over 82,000 Bangladeshi farmers to grow wheat for the first time. The project emphasizes research into new wheat varieties with higher yield potential and that perform well in the heat-intensive, stress-prone areas of southern Bangladesh. Five new varieties were introduced with Feed the Future support. Profit margins on wheat in this area are double those of rice, and farmers who have traditionally grown one rice crop per year thus face the potential to triple their annual incomes. With careful planning and the selection of appropriate short-season varieties, the introduction of a third annual crop may even be possible.

 

But in a devastating turn of events, Bangladeshi and CIMMYT scientists have recently confirmed the widespread presence of wheat blast, a fungal disease, in southern Bangladesh—its first-ever appearance on the continent. “The fact that it is now in Asia is a real concern,” explained a Dhaka-based CIMMYT expert. Infected fields of susceptible varieties saw 90 percent losses in a matter of days, while fungicidal treatment of less susceptible varieties has curbed losses to about 10 percent. But no fungicidal treatment is effective if warm, rainy weather occurs during the wheat heading stage, and few resistant genes have been identified.

 

First detected in Brazil in 1985, the wheat blast fungus quickly spread to neighboring Latin American countries but has never before been observed outside of the Americas. An unseasonably warm and wet winter, symptomatic of a changing climate, has likely contributed to the fungus’ growth, but the precise pathway of contamination is not yet understood.


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Mycorrhiza: A history of research on arbuscular mycorrhiza (2004)

Mycorrhiza: A history of research on arbuscular mycorrhiza (2004) | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

This is not a review paper in the traditional sense, of which there are many. Three of the most influential reviews that summarized well some of the “older” literature include those by Nicolson (1967), Gerdemann (1968) and Mosse (1973). Instead, in this brief and incomplete work, we attempt to show the historical development of research on arbuscular mycorrhizas. We owe much to those who have written other historical accounts, including Rayner (1926–1927), Trappe and Berch (1985), Mosse (1985), Schenck (1985), Harley (1991) and Allen (1996), but the contents of this work naturally reflect our own ignorance, interests and biases. It was often difficult to distinguish between the historical and the contemporary, and we did not use any specific cutoff date in making this distinction. The degree to which we include “contemporary” literature was determined by our own assessment of its connectedness to older literature. In any case, we hope this will be of some interest to those of you who study the arbuscular mycorrhiza, and that it will serve the purpose of providing what we consider to be an important historical context for current researchers. We wish you good fortune in your research.


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Christophe Jacquet's curator insight, March 24, 4:43 AM

Awesome. I love to hear about the history of research and wisdom that comes from it.

Francis Martin's curator insight, March 24, 3:51 PM

Awesome. I love to hear about the history of research and wisdom that comes from it.

Fabiane Vezzani's curator insight, April 2, 4:24 PM

Awesome. I love to hear about the history of research and wisdom that comes from it.

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MPMI: Bacterial outer membrane vesicles induce plant immune responses (2016)

MPMI: Bacterial outer membrane vesicles induce plant immune responses (2016) | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

Gram-negative bacteria continuously pinch off portions of their outer membrane, releasing membrane vesicles. These outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) are involved in multiple processes including cell-cell communication, biofilm formation, stress tolerance, horizontal gene transfer and virulence. OMVs are also known modulators of the mammalian immune response. Despite the well-documented role of OMVs in mammalian-bacterial communication, their interaction with plants is not well studied. To examine whether OMVs of plant pathogens modulate the plant immune response we purified OMVs from four different plant pathogens and used them to treat Arabidopsis thaliana. OMVs rapidly induced ROS burst, medium alkalinization and defense gene expression in A. thaliana leaf discs, cell cultures and seedlings, respectively. Western blot analysis revealed that EF-Tu is present in OMVs and that it serves as an elicitor of the plant immune response in this form. Our results further show that the immune co-receptors BAK1 and SOBIR1 mediate OMV perception and response. Taken together, our results demonstrate that plants can detect and respond to OMV-associated molecules by activation of their immune system, revealing a new facet of plant-bacterial interactions.


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Rakesh Yashroy's curator insight, March 18, 9:32 PM
Bacterial outer membrane vesicles are versatile arsenal for intra-species, inter-species and interkingdom cross talk @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacterial_outer_membrane_vesicles
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A green evolution

A green evolution | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it
The farms of Africa are prospering at last thanks to persistence, technology and decent government

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Intersting story about changes and challenges in agriculture across the continent

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plantsci-UT3's curator insight, March 14, 7:03 AM

Intersting story about changes and challenges in agriculture across the continent

Daniel Wipf's curator insight, March 14, 7:19 AM

Intersting story about changes and challenges in agriculture across the continent

Miyee Carney's curator insight, March 16, 12:26 PM

Intersting story about changes and challenges in agriculture across the continent

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Molecular Plant Pathology: Plant hormones: A fungal point of view (2016)

Molecular Plant Pathology: Plant hormones: A fungal point of view (2016) | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

Most classical plant hormones are also produced by pathogenic and symbiotic fungi. The way these molecules favor the invasion of plant tissues and the development of fungi inside plant tissues is still largely unknown. In this review, we examine the different roles of such hormone production by pathogenic fungi. Converging evidence suggest that these fungal-derived molecules have potentially two modes of action: (i) they may perturb plant processes, either positively or negatively, to favor invasion and nutrient uptake and (ii) they may also act as signals for the fungi themselves to engage appropriate developmental and physiological processes adapted to their environment. Indirect evidences suggest that abscisic acid, gibberellic acid and ethylene produced by fungi participate to pathogenicity. There is now evidence that auxin and cytokinins could be positive regulators required for virulence. Further research should establish whether or not fungal-derived hormones act like other fungal effectors. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


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News: 'Wheat blast' threatens yield in Bangladesh (2016)

News: 'Wheat blast' threatens yield in Bangladesh (2016) | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

Wheat blast disease has become a serious threat to grain quality and yield, incurring losses to the farmers in six southwestern districts.

 

Scientists and specialists after laboratory tests claimed that this is the first time in Bangladesh in which the seasonal crop got infected with this disease.

 

Officials at the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and Wheat Research Centre (WRC) of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute said they have examined samples from the fields and confirmed that the disease is a blast infection.

 

They identified the fungus that might have grown due to unexpected temperature fluctuation and several days of continuous rain in the first week of February.

 

Experts also have tested the seeds used to be sure of the infection, the officials said.

 

The affected districts include Kushtia, Meherpur, Chuadanga, Jhenidah, Jessore, and Magura.

 

DAE officials, who visited the affected fields, said Meherpur was the badly hit. Around 2,000 hectares of wheat fields had been damaged by the fungus.

 

According to farmers, they have marked yellow and black spots on the leaves and sheaves of wheat. After a few days, the spots got larger and spread over the entire plant.

 

At one stage, both the sheaves and flowers turned yellow and white, and finally the plant dried up without producing any grain.

 

Mustafizur Rahman, deputy director of Meherpur DAE, said farmers started informing them about the matter from mid-February.

 

“We told the higher authorities about the problem after visiting the fields,” he said.

 

A team, led by Paritosh Kumar Malaker, chief scientific officer of Wheat Research Centre in Dinajpur, visited the affected fields in Meherpur, Chuadanga, and Jhenidah on Wednesday.

 

“We have made pathogen tests using the diagnostic technique, called 'field pathogenomics', and confirmed the symptoms of the disease,” he said.

 

He said, "As it [disease] is the first infection in Bangladesh, we need to be more careful.”

 

Farmers and DAE officials said the areas experienced rain in the first week of February. After five to seven days, farmers observed spots on wheat leaves and sheaves.

 

This correspondent visited Garadoba, Saharbati, Dhankhola, Bamundi of Gangni upazila, and Khoksa, Chandbeel, Madandanga in Meherpur Sadar upazila and found a large number of affected fields.

 

Farmers Ripon and Mawla Boksh of Madandanga told this correspondent that they jointly cultivated wheat on five bigahs of land. About half of the crop was damaged. They have to incur a huge loss, they said.

 

Sources at the DAE divisional office in Jessore said farmers in the six southwestern districts cultivated wheat on around 58,135 hectares. Some 16,710 hectares are in Kushtia, 10,320 hectares in Jhenidah, 7,020 hectares in Magura, 5,810 hectares in Chuadanga, 4,400 hectares in Jessore and 13,875 hectares in Meherpur.

 

Mustafizur Rahman, deputy director of Meherpur DAE, said they were holding meetings with the farmers and distributing leaflets to create awareness among the farmers.

 

The DAE office also advised the farmers to spray Nativo and Folico on the affected fields.

 

He primarily estimated that 5 percent of the total production might be affected.

 

However, Chief Scientific Officer of WRC Paritosh Kumar said wheat production would decrease by around 10-40 percent.


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Wild Plant Pathosystems, 29-31 August 2016, Helsinki

Wild Plant Pathosystems, 29-31 August 2016, Helsinki | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

Research carried out on plant-pathogen interactions has provided breakthroughs in how ecological, molecular and evolutionary dynamics are coupled to produce the patterns on infection we observe in nature. This conference brings together scientists working in cutting edge areas of plant-pathogen interactions including coevolution, epidemiology, evolutionary genomics, pathogen movement across the agro-ecological interface and community level processes.


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PLOS Pathogens: Cytokinin Production by the Rice Blast Fungus Is a Pivotal Requirement for Full Virulence (2016)

PLOS Pathogens: Cytokinin Production by the Rice Blast Fungus Is a Pivotal Requirement for Full Virulence (2016) | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

Plants produce cytokinin (CK) hormones for controlling key developmental processes like source/sink distribution, cell division or programmed cell-death. Some plant pathogens have been shown to produce CKs but the function of this mimicry production by non-tumor inducing pathogens, has yet to be established. Here we identify a gene required for CK biosynthesis, CKS1, in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. The fungal-secreted CKs are likely perceived by the plant during infection since the transcriptional regulation of rice CK-responsive genes is altered in plants infected by the mutants in which CKS1 gene was deleted. Although cks1 mutants showed normal in vitro growth and development, they were severely affected for in planta growth and virulence. Moreover, we showed that the cks1 mutant triggered enhanced induction of plant defenses as manifested by an elevated oxidative burst and expression of defense-related markers. In addition, the contents of sugars and key amino acids for fungal growth were altered in and around the infection site by the cks1 mutant in a different manner than by the control strain. These results suggest that fungal-derived CKs are key effectors required for dampening host defenses and affecting sugar and amino acid distribution in and around the infection site.


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Plant Immunity on the cover of The Scientist! (2016)

Plant Immunity on the cover of The Scientist! (2016) | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

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New Phytologist: Integration of decoy domains derived from protein targets of pathogen effectors into plant immune receptors is widespread (2016)

New Phytologist: Integration of decoy domains derived from protein targets of pathogen effectors into plant immune receptors is widespread (2016) | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it
Plant immune receptors of the class of nucleotide-binding and leucine-rich repeat domain (NLR) proteins can contain additional domains besides canonical NB-ARC (nucleotide-binding adaptor shared by APAF-1, R proteins, and CED-4 (NB-ARC)) and leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domains. Recent research suggests that these additional domains act as integrated decoys recognizing effectors from pathogens. Proteins homologous to integrated decoys are suspected to be effector targets and involved in disease or resistance.Here, we scrutinized 31 entire plant genomes to identify putative integrated decoy domains in NLR proteins using the Interpro search. The involvement of the Zinc Finger–BED type (ZBED) protein containing a putative decoy domain, called BED, in rice (Oryza sativa) resistance was investigated by evaluating susceptibility to the blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae in rice over-expression and knock-out mutants.This analysis showed that all plants tested had integrated various atypical protein domains into their NLR proteins (on average 3.5% of all NLR proteins). We also demonstrated that modifying the expression of the ZBED gene modified disease susceptibility.This study suggests that integration of decoy domains in NLR immune receptors is widespread and frequent in plants. The integrated decoy model is therefore a powerful concept to identify new proteins involved in disease resistance. Further in-depth examination of additional domains in NLR proteins promises to unravel many new proteins of the plant immune system.
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Comparative Phylogenomics of Pathogenic and Nonpathogenic Species

Comparative Phylogenomics of Pathogenic and Nonpathogenic Species | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

The Ascomycete Onygenales order embraces a diverse group of mammalian pathogens, including the yeast-forming dimorphic fungal pathogens Histoplasma capsulatum, Paracoccidioides spp. and Blastomyces dermatitidis, the dermatophytes Microsporum spp. and Trichopyton spp., the spherule-forming dimorphic fungal pathogens in the genus Coccidioides, and many nonpathogens. Although genomes for all of the aforementioned pathogenic species are available, only one nonpathogen had been sequenced. Here, we enhance comparative phylogenomics in Onygenales by adding genomes for Amauroascus mutatus, Amauroascus niger, Byssoonygena ceratinophila, and Chrysosporium queenslandicum—four nonpathogenic Onygenales species, all of which are more closely related to Coccidioides spp. than any other known Onygenales species. Phylogenomic detection of gene family expansion and contraction can provide clues to fungal function but is sensitive to taxon sampling. By adding additional nonpathogens, we show that LysM domain-containing proteins, previously thought to be expanding in some Onygenales, are contracting in the Coccidioides-Uncinocarpus clade, as are the self-nonself recognition Het loci. The denser genome sampling presented here highlights nearly 800 genes unique to Coccidiodes, which have significantly fewer known protein domains and show increased expression in the endosporulating spherule, the parasitic phase unique to Coccidioides spp. These genomes provide insight to gene family expansion/contraction and patterns of individual gene gain/loss in this diverse order—both major drivers of evolutionary change. Our results suggest that gene family expansion/contraction can lead to adaptive radiations that create taxonomic orders, while individual gene gain/loss likely plays a more significant role in branch-specific phenotypic changes that lead to adaptation for species or genera.


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Nature Biotechnology: Plant immunity switched from bacteria to virus (2016)

Nature Biotechnology: Plant immunity switched from bacteria to virus (2016) | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

Each year, staple crops around the world suffer massive losses in yield owing to the destruc- tive effects of pathogens. Improving the disease resistance of crops by boosting their immunity has been a key objective of agricultural bio- tech ever since the discovery of plant immune receptors in the 1990s. Nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) proteins, a family of intracellular immune receptors that recog- nize pathogen molecules, are promising targets for enhancing pathogen resistance. In a recent paper in Science, Kim et al.1 describe a clever twist on this approach in which the host target protein for the pathogen effector is engineered rather than the NLR protein itself (Fig. 1).


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Video: Blast infected wheat field on fire in Meherpur, Bangladesh, March, 2016

See also: Daily Sun: ‘Wheat Blast’ Infected wheat plants on 357 acres destroyed


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Activation of Plant Innate Immunity by Extracellular High Mobility Group Box 3 and Its Inhibition by Salicylic Acid

Author Summary In mammals, extracellular HMGB1 is the prototypic Damage-Associated Molecular Pattern (DAMP) molecule, which activates inflammatory and immune responses to protect against infection and promote healing after tissue damage.
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Deep Subseafloor Fungi as an Untapped Reservoir of Amphipathic Antimicrobial Compounds

Deep Subseafloor Fungi as an Untapped Reservoir of Amphipathic Antimicrobial Compounds | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it
The evolving global threat of antimicrobial resistance requires a deep renewal of the antibiotic arsenal including the isolation and characterization of new drugs. Underexplored marine ecosystems may represent an untapped reservoir of novel bioactive molecules. Deep-sea fungi isolated from a record-depth sediment core of almost 2000 m below the seafloor were investigated for antimicrobial activities. This antimicrobial screening, using 16 microbial targets, revealed 33% of filamentous fungi synthesizing bioactive compounds with activities against pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Interestingly, occurrence of antimicrobial producing isolates was well correlated with the complexity of the habitat (in term of microbial richness), as higher antimicrobial activities were obtained at specific layers of the sediment core. It clearly highlights complex deep-sea habitats as chemical battlefields where synthesis of numerous bioactive compounds appears critical for microbial competition. The six most promising deep subseafloor fungal isolates were selected for the production and extraction of bioactive compounds. Depending on the fungal isolates, antimicrobial compounds were only biosynthesized in semi-liquid or solid-state conditions as no antimicrobial activities were ever detected using liquid fermentation. An exception was made for one fungal isolate, and the extraction procedure designed to extract amphipathic compounds was successful and highlighted the amphiphilic profile of the bioactive metabolites.

 

Marion Navarri, Camille Jégou, Laurence Meslet-Cladière, Benjamin Brillet, Georges Barbier, Gaëtan Burgaudand Yannick Fleury *

Mar. Drugs 2016, 14(3), 50; doi:10.3390/md14030050

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Deep Subseafloor Fungi as an Untapped Reservoir of Amphipathic Antimicrobial Compounds
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Patrick Filizian's curator insight, March 22, 12:45 PM
Deep Subseafloor Fungi as an Untapped Reservoir of Amphipathic Antimicrobial Compounds
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Deep Subseafloor Fungi as an Untapped Reservoir of Amphipathic Antimicrobial Compounds
Joseval Estigaribia's curator insight, March 31, 10:45 AM
Deep Subseafloor Fungi as an Untapped Reservoir of Amphipathic Antimicrobial Compounds
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These Probiotics For Plants Could Help Feed The World

These Probiotics For Plants Could Help Feed The World | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it
Agriculture has a math problem. To feed an extra two billion people by 2050—the equivalent of six more United States—the world will need to increase crop production by 70% to 100%. But yield gains have slowed to just 1% a year, and the technology farmers rely on for those meager gains, such as pesticides, cause problems of their own.

The plant microbiome evolved with the plant over millions of years until modern technology systematically decimated them.
A Cambridge-based startup called Indigo, which announced a $56-million funding round today, thinks the solution may lie in probiotics for plants. By dosing seeds in healthy microbes, farmers can grow as much as 10% more food, and as the technology develops, yields may increase even more.

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Rebecca Dray's curator insight, June 1, 8:28 PM
Interesting article. A great thinking exercise for students.
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A Functional Bacterium-to-Plant DNA Transfer Machinery of Rhizobium etli

A Functional Bacterium-to-Plant DNA Transfer Machinery of  Rhizobium etli | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it
Author Summary Since the discovery of gene transfer from Agrobacterium to host plants in the late 1970s, this bacterial pathogen has been widely used in research and biotechnology to generate transgenic plants.
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New Phytologist: Subversion of plant cellular functions by bacterial type-III effectors: beyond suppression of immunity (2016)

New Phytologist: Subversion of plant cellular functions by bacterial type-III effectors: beyond suppression of immunity (2016) | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

Most bacterial plant pathogens employ a type-III secretion system to inject type-III effector (T3E) proteins directly inside plant cells. These T3Es manipulate host cellular processes in order to create a permissive niche for bacterial proliferation, allowing development of the disease. An important role of T3Es in plant pathogenic bacteria is the suppression of plant immune responses. However, in recent years, research has uncovered T3E functions different from direct immune suppression, including the modulation of plant hormone signaling, metabolism or organelle function. This insight article discusses T3E functions other than suppression of immunity, which may contribute to the modulation of plant cells in order to promote bacterial survival, nutrient release, and bacterial replication and dissemination.


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Gordon Research Conferences - Meeting - Cellular & Molecular Fungal Biology, June 2016

Gordon Research Conferences - Meeting - Cellular & Molecular Fungal Biology, June 2016 | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

The 2016 Cellular and Molecular Fungal Biology GRC will encompass problems in fungal biology across scales. Sessions will traverse the topics of biophysics governing single molecules up to how multi-species fungal communities are structured. The topics of the meeting include diverse areas reflecting the breadth of problems in the field including: Cell dynamics, Environmental sensing, Fungal communities, Evolution, ploidy, and genome dynamics, Biophysics and mathematical modeling, Responding to stress, and Interacting with hosts. The sessions will be held in the morning and evenings, with poster sessions and time for informal interactions in the afternoons and after the evening session. The ample unstructured time for engaging participants and highly interactive fungal community make this an excellent conference for young scientists to interact with established group leaders. The setting of the Holderness School is a tranquil and intimate site in New England that fosters thoughtful conversation and enables interactions amongst all participants.


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eLife: Autophagy under attack (2016)

eLife: Autophagy under attack (2016) | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

Pathogens target proteins involved in autophagy to inhibit immune responses in plants.

 

The Irish potato famine was responsible for more than one million deaths and the emigration of one million people from Europe in the 1840s (Andrivon, 1996). Today, the microbe that caused the famine, an oomycete called Phytophthora infestans, continues to cause serious outbreaks of disease in potato crops. Traditional control measures, such as fungicides and breeding for resistance, often have only marginal success in combating the disease, especially when the climate favors the growth and development of P. infestans (Fry and Goodwin, 1997). Now, in eLife, Sophien Kamoun, Tolga Bozkurt and colleagues – including Yasin Dagdas and Khaoula Belhaj as joint first authors – reveal how one of the proteins produced by P. infestans manipulates host plant cells to weaken their defenses (Dagdas et al., 2016).


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Nature Genetics: A recently evolved hexose transporter variant confers resistance to multiple pathogens in wheat (2015)

Nature Genetics: A recently evolved hexose transporter variant confers resistance to multiple pathogens in wheat (2015) | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

As there are numerous pathogen species that cause disease and limit yields of crops, such as wheat (Triticum aestivum), single genes that provide resistance to multiple pathogens are valuable in crop improvement1, 2. The mechanistic basis of multi-pathogen resistance is largely unknown. Here we use comparative genomics, mutagenesis and transformation to isolate the wheat Lr67 gene, which confers partial resistance to all three wheat rust pathogen species and powdery mildew. The Lr67 resistance gene encodes a predicted hexose transporter (LR67res) that differs from the susceptible form of the same protein (LR67sus) by two amino acids that are conserved in orthologous hexose transporters. Sugar uptake assays show that LR67sus, and related proteins encoded by homeoalleles, function as high-affinity glucose transporters. LR67res exerts a dominant-negative effect through heterodimerization with these functional transporters to reduce glucose uptake. Alterations in hexose transport in infected leaves may explain its ability to reduce the growth of multiple biotrophic pathogen species.


News & Views at http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v47/n12/full/ng.3456.html


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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Rescooped by Rajesh Patkar from Plants and Microbes
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PLOS ONE: Heterologous Expression Screens in Nicotiana benthamiana Identify a Candidate Effector of the Wheat Yellow Rust Pathogen that Associates with Processing Bodies (2016)

PLOS ONE: Heterologous Expression Screens in  Nicotiana benthamiana  Identify a Candidate Effector of the Wheat Yellow Rust Pathogen that Associates with Processing Bodies (2016) | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

Rust fungal pathogens of wheat (Triticum spp.) affect crop yields worldwide. The molecular mechanisms underlying the virulence of these pathogens remain elusive, due to the limited availability of suitable molecular genetic research tools. Notably, the inability to perform high-throughput analyses of candidate virulence proteins (also known as effectors) impairs progress. We previously established a pipeline for the fast-forward screens of rust fungal candidate effectors in the model plant Nicotiana benthamiana. This pipeline involves selecting candidate effectors in silico and performing cell biology and protein-protein interaction assays in planta to gain insight into the putative functions of candidate effectors. In this study, we used this pipeline to identify and characterize sixteen candidate effectors from the wheat yellow rust fungal pathogen Puccinia striiformis f sp tritici. Nine candidate effectors targeted a specific plant subcellular compartment or protein complex, providing valuable information on their putative functions in plant cells. One candidate effector, PST02549, accumulated in processing bodies (P-bodies), protein complexes involved in mRNA decapping, degradation, and storage. PST02549 also associates with the P-body-resident ENHANCER OF mRNA DECAPPING PROTEIN 4 (EDC4) from N. benthamiana and wheat. We propose that P-bodies are a novel plant cell compartment targeted by pathogen effectors.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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New Phytologist: Mycorrhizal symbioses: today and tomorrow (2016)

New Phytologist: Mycorrhizal symbioses: today and tomorrow (2016) | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Scoop.it

The 2nd International Molecular Mycorrhiza Meeting, Cambridge, UK, September 2015The 2nd International Molecular Mycorrhiza Meeting, Cambridge, UK, September 2015Symbiotic interactions between plants and mycorrhizal fungi have a major impact on plant growth, development and evolution. Among them, the ectomycorrhizal (ECM) symbiosis formed between a large variety of phylogenetically diverse fungi and trees, and the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis involving almost all land plants and the monophyletic Glomeromycota, are critical players of most ecosystems. Beyond their ecological functions, these associations offer a unique opportunity to improve the productivity and sustainability of current forest and agricultural systems. Over the last two decades, genetics conducted in model legumes has allowed the identification of a first set of genes and molecular mechanisms required for the efficient establishment of the AM symbiosis but also highlighted how scarce and incomplete our understanding of this association is at the molecular level. The 2nd international Molecular Mycorrhiza Meeting (2nd iMMM) brought together researchers who work on the molecular characterization of AM and ECM symbioses in a variety of contexts including root colonization, cell dynamics, nutrient exchange and metabolism, molecular evolution, genomics, effectors, plant–fungal communication, hormonal regulation or signal transduction. During this year's meeting many presenters outlined novel discoveries, concepts and models that are likely to take the research on mycorrhizal associations into new realms.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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