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Laboratory Report

Articles: Laboratory Report

Fungal Pathogen Cloaking Device

When plants and animals are challenged with fungal invaders, one of the first means of defense involves recognition of the fungus. A telltale component of fungal cell walls is chitin, which is not present in plants or humans, but alerts such hosts to a fungal presence and induces a series of defensive reactions. To avoid them, fungal pathogens produce and secrete a protein called Intercellular Protein 6 (ICP 6) during an attack that binds together their own stray chitin fragments. The fungal pathogens are essentially cloaked and unseen by their host, at least at the beginning of an infection. The tomato fungal pathogen (Cladosporium) studied in this research, when unable to produce ICP 6, was less aggressive and less able to cause disease in tomato plants. Scientists will use this information to design new ways to combat fungal infections in plants and humans.
Science, 2010; 329 (5994): 953-955
Sometimes the Textbook Explanation Is Wrong

It was assumed by many, and stated in textbooks, that the reason for tall flower stalks on insectivorous sundews (Drosera) was to keep pollinators away from the leafy traps to prevent them from being consumed...


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