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How a plant cell's skeleton helps fight infection

A new study from Michigan State University identifies a missing link which controls plant immunity and plants’ ability to maintain their cytoskeleton – the frame that both gives plant cells their shape and that serves as a highway for materials to move inside these cells. The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, has broad implications for the study of plant and animal diseases. It also advances our understanding of how physical changes in the cytoskeleton impact the activation of gene expression and immunity.

The work, from the laboratory of Brad Day, in collaboration with Sheng Yang He, hones on a master protein, called CPK3, from the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. One of its roles is to sustain a plant cell’s immune response to infection from harmful pathogens. Another role is to control changes in the actin cytoskeleton.

Read the full story in the MPS newsroom.