Scientists of John Innes Centre and Wageningen UR have proven how a selected bacterial parasite, inflicting developmental issues in crops, e.g. oilseed rape, is ready to manipulate plants in such a approach that they produce leaves as an alternative of flowers. This manipulation improves the possibilities of the micro organism being unfold to different plants, by leafhoppers feeding on these plants. The scientists have been capable of determine the plant proteins that the micro organism goal to direct the plant right into a leaf-producing organism with out flowers. The plant turns right into a zombie: lifeless to the long run and destined to profit solely the survival of the micro organism.
The parasite as puppet masters
Forget fashionable online game Plants Vs. Zombies, some plants are zombies and scientists have uncovered how bacterial parasites flip them into the residing lifeless. “For the first time, we can reveal how this remarkable manipulation takes place,” says Prof. Saskia Hogenhout from the John Innes Centre.
“In that sense, the plant world is ahead of animal biology – where manipulations also take place but no mechanisms have been uncovered to show how.” For instance, the parasitic lancet liver fluke infects the mind of ants, compelling them to climb to the tip of a blade of grass and into the mouth of a grazing animal. This will not be removed from the brain-eating zombies of the online game. Another parasite is believed to alter the behaviour of rats to make them extra inclined to predation.