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Science 330 (6006): 922-923

Copyright © 2010 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Plant Science

Fertility Goddesses as Trojan Horses

Francine Govers1,4, and Gerco C. Angenent2,3,4

Tip growth is similar in many features in plants and fungi. The tube-like structures that emerge from both plant pollen grains and fungal spores, for instance, exhibit "polarized" cell growth that enables rapid elongation. It is not surprising that, before the 19th century, researchers believed that emerging pollen tubes were invading fungal parasites. On page 968 of this issue, Kessler et al. (1) show that this similarity extends beyond looks: Both pollen tubes and fungi exploit similar receptor proteins that function either as goddesses of fertility that enable fertilization—or as Trojan horses that enable pathogenic fungi to invade plant tissues.

1 Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University, 1-6708 PB Wageningen, Netherlands.
2 Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Wageningen University, 1-6708 PB Wageningen, Netherlands.
3 Business Unit Bioscience, Plant Research International, 16-6700 AA Wageningen, Netherlands.
4 Centre for BioSystems Genomics (CBSG), 98-6700 AB Wageningen, Netherlands.

E-mail: francine.govers{at}

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