Sunday, March 27, 2016

NRL Saves Plant Immune System

           A recent immune discovery has lead researchers one step closer to inventing a new defense mechanism against pathogens. NLR, nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat receptor, has revealed a unique behavior of mimicking a bacterial target for pathogens to bind to. Once the pathogen is lured in, secondary immune forces are triggered and begin to fight and kill the invaders. After much investigation, a researcher at Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich Research Park, U.K discovered an exclusive characteristic about the plants who acquire this receptor.
             Ksenis Krasileva surveyed about forty plant species and found that NLR’s receptors were most common among flowering plants, wheat, and brassicas. In his published report, he explained that the NLR receptors are capable of hosting targets, in addition to overlapping with effector targets which may allow hosts to be targeted by effectors. Through detecting multiple variations of immune receptors, this exciting discovery will help lead researchers to advance studies in plant health. In hopes of using host proteins to uncover targeted pathogens, new sources could be an assistant to solving more disease resistant receptors in plant genetics.
           Through exploring the importance of plant disease resistance, I believe the NLR plant receptor may help further the knowledge we have today about human immune diseases. Anywhere from diabetes to lupus, immune problems vary a large range throughout the human body. If researchers can find a receptor in plants that help defend pathogens, the human body most likely has a similar receptor that can provide the same kind of protection. Although we have used medications to help fight against immune diseases, new discoveries may be able to prevent these diseases from occurring beforehand if the right receptor is triggered by a new medication. While plants and humans have their array of obvious differences, it is surprising to see how much they have in common as well.

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