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Plants and Bacteria 'Talk' to Thwart Disease

In plant and animal innate immunity, like many of the dances of life, it takes two to tango. A receptor molecule in the plant pairs up with a specific molecule on the invading bacteria and, presto, the immune system swings into action to defend against the invasion of the disease-causing microbe.

Unwrapping some of the mystery from how plants and bacteria communicate in this dance of immunity, hardworking scientists in my laboratory here at the University of California, Davis, have identified the bacterial molecule that matches up with a specific receptor in rice plants to ward off a devastating disease known as bacterial blight of rice.

The publication describing these results will appear tomorrow in the journal Science.
 
 

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