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"Will the blight end the chestnut?
The farmers rather guess not.
It keeps smouldering at the roots
And sending up new shoots
Till another parasite
Shall come to end the blight."
At the beginning of the 20th century,
the eastern American chestnut population, counting nearly four billion trees,
was completely decimated by a fungal infection.
Fungi are the most destructive pathogens of plants,
including crops of major economic importance.
Can you imagine that today,
crop losses associated with fungal infection
are estimated at billions of dollars per year, worldwide?
That represents enough food calories to feed half a billion people.
And this leads to severe repercussions,
including episodes of famine in developing countries,
large reduction of income for farmers and distributors,
high prices for consumers
and risk of exposure to mycotoxin, poison produced by fungi.
The problems that we face
is that the current method used to prevent and treat
those dreadful diseases,
such as genetic control, exploiting natural sources of resistance,
crop rotation or seed treatment, among others,
are still limited or ephemeral.
They have to be constantly renewed.
Therefore, we urgently need to develop more efficient strategies
and for this, research is required to identify biological mechanisms
that can be targeted by novel antifungal treatments.
One feature of fungi is that they cannot move
and only grow by extension to form a sophisticated network,
the mycelium.
In 1884, Anton de Bary, the father of plant pathology,
was the first to presume that fungi are guided by signals
sent out from the host plant,
meaning a plant upon which it can lodge and subsist,
so signals act as a lighthouse
for fungi to locate, grow toward, reach
and finally invade and colonize a plant.
He knew that the identification of such signals
would unlock a great knowledge that then serves to elaborate strategy
to block the interaction between the fungus and the plant.
However, the lack of an appropriate method at that moment
prevented him from identifying this mechanism at the molecular level.
Using purification and mutational genomic approaches,
as well as a technique
allowing the measurement of directed hyphal growth,
today I'm glad to tell you that after 130 years,
my former team and I could finally identify such plant signals
by studying the interaction between a pathogenic fungus
called Fusarium oxysporum
and one of its host plants, the tomato plant.
As well, we could characterize
the fungal receptor receiving those signals
and part of the underlying reaction occurring within the fungus
and leading to its direct growth toward the plant.
Thank you.
The understanding of such molecular processes
offers a panel of potential molecules
that can be used to create novel antifungal treatments.
And those treatments would disrupt
the interaction between the fungus and the plant
either by blocking the plant signal
or the fungal reception system which receives those signals.
Fungal infections have devastated agriculture crops.
Moreover, we are now in an era
where the demand of crop production is increasing significantly.
And this is due to population growth, economic development,
climate change and demand for bio fuels.
Our understanding of the molecular mechanism
of interaction between a fungus and its host plant,
such as the tomato plant,
potentially represents a major step towards developing more efficient strategy
to combat plant fungal diseases
and therefore solving of problems that affect people's lives,
food security and economic growth.
Thank you.


【TED】メナット・エル・ガリド: 菌類は侵す植物をいかに見付けるのか (How fungi recognize (and infect) plants | Mennat El Ghalid)

606 タグ追加 保存
Zenn 2018 年 4 月 19 日 に公開
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