Plant scientists at the University of Missouri and the University of Bonn in Germany have proved that nematode infection alters the cytokinin signaling pathway in plants (the pathway used to regulate growth and development).
"Cell cycle regulation is a key aspect of plant development and one of the first events altered during the formation of the feeding sites nematodes use to acquire nutrients from host plants," said Melissa Goellner Mitchum, researcher at the Bond Life Sciences Center and associate professor in the Division of Plant Sciences at Missouri.
"As part of our research, we examined the activation of different components of the cytokinin pathway in response to nematode infection," said Carola De La Torre, who helped Mitchum with research.
"Also, we evaluated numerous plants that lacked the presence of these components and found that most of these plants were less susceptible to nematode infection. These results suggested to us that these little worms are not only utilizing parts of a plant hormonal pathway that is important for plant growth and development, but they also are doing it in a way that allows them to cause disease.
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