The Global Plant Council, an NGO representing over 50,000 plant and crop science experts on 5 continents, has recently published their 2015 Plant Science Round Up, selecting a paper by Professor Savithramma P. Dinesh-Kumar of the UC Davis Genome Center as one of the year’s most groundbreaking.
The Dinesh-Kumar lab, in collaboration with the University of Delaware’s Delaware Biotechnology Institute, has demonstrated that in response to pathogens, chloroplasts can create extrusions called stromules which interact with the nucleus in order to launch a robust transcriptional response. Chloroplasts are the site of photosynthesis and are thought to result from a symbiosis formed about one billion years ago between a cyanobacteria and an early ancestor of algae. Similar to mitochondria, chloroplasts have their own genome, which dynamically interacts with that of the plant. In the case of attack by viruses or microbes, this interaction can trigger apoptosis, a type of pre-programmed cell death (PCD) which limits the spread of infection.
The report was published in Developmental Cell: Chloroplast Stromules Function during Innate Immunity