This is a magnified view of an Arabidopsis thaliana leaf eight days after being infected with the pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis, which is closely related to crop pathogens that cause 'downy mildew' diseases. It is also more distantly related to the agent that caused the Irish potato famine. The veins of the leaf are light blue; in darker blue are the pathogen's hyphae growing through the leaf. The small round blobs along the length of the hyphae are called haustoria; each is invading a single plant cell to suck nutrients from the cell. Jeff Dangl and other NIGMS-supported researchers investigate how this pathogen and other like it use virulence mechanisms to suppress host defense and help the pathogens grow.
Credit: Jeff Dangl, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (NIGMS Image Gallery)