Researchers have found a gene that can help control plants' response to disease, which may pave the way for developing infection-resistant crops, according to a study released recently by the University of Edinburgh.
Using a common cress plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, researchers from Edinburgh analysed the mechanism behind plants' response to attack from bacteria or viruses.
They found that a previously unknown gene, called SRG1, can unleash the plant's defence mechanism by limiting the activity of genes that suppress the immune response.
By altering the activity of the SRG1 gene, the team was able to demonstrate that plants with higher levels of defence proteins produced by the gene were more resistant to infection.
They also found that nitric oxide regulates the immune response, ensuring the plant's defence system does not over-react, reports Xinhua.
"Our findings provide a missing link between mechanisms that activate and suppress the plant's response to disease," said Professor Gary Loake from the University of Edinburgh.
The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, could lead to ways to fine-tune the gene's activity to boost disease resistance, pointing towards more resilient crop breeds or new treatments for infections.
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