Major core protein in plants helps fight infection


(Natural News) Researchers have identified a core protein in plants that may play a significant role in fighting off infectious bacteria. The molecule has been shown to control the immune response of plants.

When activated, the molecule boosts the immune system of plants, allowing them to resist diseases. It may help protect crops against bacterial infections.

The University of California Riverside (UCR) research team came across this regulatory genetic protein while experimenting with thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana). The small flowering plant is a popular model species in biological studies.

UCR researcher Hailing Jin and his teammates were studying the Argonaute protein in thale cress. A critical core protein in the ribonucleic acid (RNA) interference machinery, Argonaute activated during infections caused by harmful bacteria. During the infection, a process called “post-translational modification” took over the Argonaute protein. It regulated the level of the protein and the small RNA connected to it.

RNA molecules controlled biological processes. They accomplished their role by interfering with gene expression. By taking over both the Argonaute protein and its linked RNA, the post-translational modification increased its control over the RNA interference machinery. It made sure that the RNA did not interrupt any biological process needed to fight off the infection, even though those processes were normally inhibited. (Related: The pharmacological effects and anti-cancer potential of Siberian ginseng.)