A Medical News Today article reveals that researchers at Yale have identified a gene that regulates the major immune response in plants, also known as programmed cell death (PCD).
It has been known that plants create a zone of dead cells around an infection site to prevent the infection from spreading. And, according to the article, researchers at Yale discovered how the plants keep from killing themselves after they turn on the cell-suicide PCD process.
“They identified and silenced a ‘pro-survival’ gene, BECLIN-1, that is important in the PCD response,” stated the article. “When BECLIN-1 is active, infection is localized to a small number of cells that later die and form discrete brown lesions on the leaves. When the gene is inactivated, the plant can no longer regulate PCD, leading to cell death throughout the leaf and plant.”
“‘This work gives us a better understanding of how plants fend off microbial attacks through carefully controlled destruction of infected cells,’ said James Anderson, of the Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences,” the article read.