The team led by a molecular plant pathologist at University of California, Riverside discovered a novel “virulence mechanism”, the mechanism by which infection takes place of Botrytis cinerea, an aggressive fungal pathogen infects almost all fruits. This fungal pathogen can infect more than 200 plant species, causing serious gray mold disease on almost all fruits that have been around, even during preservation of fruits or vegetables in the refrigerator, for more than a week.
In plant some bacterial as well as fungal pathogen deliver protein effectos, which are the secreted by pathogen into plant cells. This type of effector facilitate manipulation of pathogen into host cell and, eventually interfere with host immunity, leads to cause some serious disease.
In present study the first example of a fungal pathogen which delivers RNA effectors molecules into host cell, to cause infection into host plant cell by suppressing host cell immunity.
Hailing Jin, a professor of plant pathology and microbiology, said “To date, almost all the pathogen effector studied or discovered have been proteins, This is the first study to add the RNA molecule to the list of effectors with the the expection for this work to help in the development of new means to control aggressive pathogens in future,”
The research team found RNA interference or RNAi (Small RNAs guide gene silencing in a wide range of plant kingdom), activity naturally occur between fungal pathogen and a plant host cells which proves to be as an advanced virulence mechanism.
The study revealed that some fungus like Botrytis cinerea, which release small RNAs to silence the expression of host defense genes, resulting in the host plant cells being less able to resist the fungal attack. The process is similar to how protein effectors weaken host immunity in the case of most pathogen.
Now, team plan to continue investigating to confirm weather this novel mechanism they discovered also exists in other aggressive pathogens or not.