Editors' ChoicePlant biology

Particularities of Disease Susceptibility

STKE  17 Jan 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 318, pp. tw483
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3182006tw483

Some plants are susceptible to infection by certain bacteria, whereas others are not. The difference can lie in the presence or absence of a plant's defense against particular bacterial effector proteins. Studying Pseudomonas and Arabidopsis, Janjusevic et al. analyze the molecular structure of one domain of a bacterial effector protein. The domain shows similarities to U-box proteins of eukaryotic ubiquitin ligase complexes. The bacterial protein may function as a mimic of the host cell's E3 ubiquitin ligase. Plant defense involves controlled cell death of infected cells. In susceptible plants, this process is disrupted by the bacterial effector protein, perhaps through interruption of endogenous ubiquitination pathways.

R. Janjusevic, R. B. Abramovitch, G. B. Martin, C. E. Stebbins, A bacterial inhibitor of host programmed cell death defenses is an E3 ubiquitin ligase. Science 311, 222-226 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]