Plants respond to pathogen attack by recognizing molecular signals from the invaders and instigating their own cellular responses to limit damage. Shen et al. now show that two of the plant’s defense systems themselves interact at the level of gene transcription. Studying barley’s MLA proteins, part of one of the plant pathogen response pathways, the authors show how these proteins are localized to the nucleus, where they alter transcription of factors that regulate the other plant pathogen response pathway. The plant’s response to pathogenic attack is thus coordinated and tuned to be appropriate to the challenge.
Q.-H. Shen, Y. Saijo, S. Mauch, C. Biskup, S. Bieri, B. Keller, H. Seki, B. Ülker, I. E. Somssich, P. Schulze-Lefert, Nuclear activity of MLA immune receptors links isolate-specific and basal disease-resistance responses. Science 315, 1098-1103 (2007). [Abstract] [Full Text]