UK lab transfers broad-spectrum pathogen resistance
Researchers at the UK Sainsbury Laboratory (Norwich) have transferred broad-spectrum resistance against important plant diseases across different plant families. Broad-spectrum immunity in plants is conferred by pattern recognition receptors (PRR), which are unique to a family or genus. The researchers transferred a PRR from Arabidopsis thaliana that recognises and prompts a defence response to the bacterial elongation factor, Tu, in solanaceous plants such as tomatoes, improving the resistance of the transgenic plants to a range of bacterial pathogens from different genera, including bacterial wilt ( Ralstonia solanaceraum). The group is extending this work to other crops including potatoes, apples, cassava and bananas that all suffer from major bacterial diseases. The research was published in the US journal, Nature Biotechnology.