A research group led by Associate Professor Hirofumi Yoshioka of Nagoya University has elucidated the mechanism by which genes that control plant immunity promote the production of reactive oxygen species.Reactive oxygen species are used as immune signals when plants protect themselves from pathogens, which may lead to technology that makes crops more resistant to disease.

 With the world's population exploding, hunger, which is a major problem in developing countries, is expected to become more serious in the future.In order to solve these food problems, the reduction of yield due to diseases is an important issue to be solved.In addition, in order to respond to the increasing demand for biofuels, it is desired to improve production efficiency.Technology to improve the disease resistance of plants has become a very important research theme from this point of view.

 Plant pathogens inject their proteins into plant cells to suppress their defense response and infect them.On the other hand, the plant side also detects this protein and induces various immune reactions.The key to this is the production of active oxygen.Various immune reactions are triggered by the production of active oxygen in the body of plants.However, the mechanism by which active oxygen is produced has not been well understood.
 Previous studies by the research group have identified the presence of enzymes that are activated when pathogens inject proteins.And in this research, we discovered for the first time in the world that the genetic information related to the production reaction of active oxygen is transcribed by binding phosphoric acid to a substance called WRKY by the action of this enzyme.Furthermore, by strengthening the function of WRKY, we succeeded in making recombinant potatoes that are resistant to diseases.

 If this technology can be applied to many other plants, it will contribute to the stable production of food and the supply of biofuels in the future.Plant immunity may seem like a very basic study, but it may help solve important human problems.

Source:[Nagoya University] Elucidation of the mechanism of plant immunity that controls the production of active oxygen (PDF)

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