Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Tiny particle, big payoff: Innovative virus research may save wheat and other crops

Visually indistinguishable particles of Brome Mosaic Virus.

CREDIT
Ayala Rao/UCR
Visually indistinguishable particles of Brome Mosaic Virus. CREDIT Ayala Rao/UCR

Abstract:
UC Riverside scientists have solved a 20-year-old genetics puzzle that could result in ways to protect wheat, barley, and other crops from a devastating infection.

Tiny particle, big payoff: Innovative virus research may save wheat and other crops

Riverside, CA | Posted on May 15th, 2020

Ayala Rao, professor of plant pathology and microbiology, has been studying Brome Mosaic virus for decades. Unlike some viruses, the genetic material of this virus is divided into three particles that until now were impossible to tell apart.

"Without a more definitive picture of the differences between these particles, we couldn't fully understand how they work together to initiate an infection that destroys food crops," Rao said. "Our approach to this problem has brought an important part of this picture into very clear focus."

A paper describing the work Rao's team did to differentiate these particles was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Inside each of the particles is a strand of RNA, the genetic material that controls the production of proteins. The proteins perform different tasks, some of which cause stunted growth, lesions, and ultimately death of infected host plants.

Two decades ago, scientists used the average of all three particles to create a basic description of their structure. In order to differentiate them, Rao first needed to separate them, and get them into their most pure form.

Using a genetic engineering technique, Rao's team disabled the pathogenic aspects of the virus and infused the viral genes with a host plant.

"This bacterium inserts its genome into the plant's cells, similar to the way HIV inserts itself into human cells," Rao said. "We were then able to isolate the viral particles in the plants and determine their structure using electron microscopes and computer-based technology."

Now that one of the particles is fully mapped, it's clear the first two particles are more stable than the third.

"Once we alter the stability, we can manipulate how RNA gets released into the plants," Rao said. "We can make the third particle more stable, so it doesn't release RNA and the infection gets delayed."

This work was made possible by a grant from the University of California Multicampus Research Program and Initiatives. Professors Wiliam Gelbart and Hong Zhou of UCLA, as well as graduate students Antara Chakravarthy of UCR and Christian Beren of UCLA, made significant contributions to this project.

Moving forward, Rao is hoping to bring the other two viral particles into sharper focus with the expertise of scientists at UCLA and UC San Diego.

Brome Mosaic virus primarily affects grasses such as wheat and barley, and occasionally affects soybeans as well. According to Rao, it is nearly identical to Cucumber Mosaic virus, which infects cucumbers as well as tomatoes and other crops that are important to California agriculture.

Not only could this research lead to the protection of multiple kinds of crops, it could advance the understanding of any virus.

"It is much easier to work with plant viruses because they're easier and less expensive to grow and isolate," Rao said. "But what we learn about the principles of replication are applicable to human and animal viruses too."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Jules Bernstein

951-827-4580

@UCRiverside

Copyright © University of California - Riverside

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

RELATED JOURNAL ARTICLE:

Related News Press

News and information

Drawing data in nanometer scale September 30th, 2022

Researchers unveil mystery inside Li- o2 batteries September 30th, 2022

Synthesis of air-stable room-temperature van der Waals magnetic thin flakes September 30th, 2022

ACM Research Launches New Furnace Tool for Thermal Atomic Layer Deposition to Support Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Requirements: Ultra Fn A Furnace Tool Shipped to China-Based Foundry Customer September 30th, 2022

Possible Futures

Researchers unveil mystery inside Li- o2 batteries September 30th, 2022

Synthesis of air-stable room-temperature van der Waals magnetic thin flakes September 30th, 2022

Layer Hall effect and hidden Berry curvature in antiferromagnetic insulators September 30th, 2022

ACM Research Launches New Furnace Tool for Thermal Atomic Layer Deposition to Support Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Requirements: Ultra Fn A Furnace Tool Shipped to China-Based Foundry Customer September 30th, 2022

Discoveries

Surface microstructures of lunar soil returned by Chang’e-5 mission reveal an intermediate stage in space weathering process September 30th, 2022

Researchers unveil mystery inside Li- o2 batteries September 30th, 2022

Synthesis of air-stable room-temperature van der Waals magnetic thin flakes September 30th, 2022

Layer Hall effect and hidden Berry curvature in antiferromagnetic insulators September 30th, 2022

Announcements

Researchers unveil mystery inside Li- o2 batteries September 30th, 2022

Synthesis of air-stable room-temperature van der Waals magnetic thin flakes September 30th, 2022

Layer Hall effect and hidden Berry curvature in antiferromagnetic insulators September 30th, 2022

ACM Research Launches New Furnace Tool for Thermal Atomic Layer Deposition to Support Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Requirements: Ultra Fn A Furnace Tool Shipped to China-Based Foundry Customer September 30th, 2022

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers/Posters

Conformal optical black hole for cavity September 30th, 2022

Cleveland researchers reveal new strategy to prevent blood clots without increasing the risk of bleeding: University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University findings may be especially impactful for cancer patients who experience blood clot complications September 30th, 2022

Ultrasmall VN/Co heterostructure with optimized N active sites anchored in N-doped graphitic nanocarbons for boosting hydrogen evolution September 30th, 2022

Layer Hall effect and hidden Berry curvature in antiferromagnetic insulators September 30th, 2022

Food/Agriculture/Supplements

Scientists offer solutions for risky tap water June 17th, 2022

Polymer fibers with graphene nanotubes make it possible to heat hard-to-reach, complex-shaped items February 11th, 2022

Unprecedented view of a single catalyst nanoparticle at work: X-rays reveal compositional changes on active surface under reaction conditions October 1st, 2021

‘Anti-rust’ coating for plants protects against disease with cellulose nanofiber: Researchers from the University of Tsukuba find that coating soybean plant leaves with cellulose nanofiber offers resistance to infection by Asian soybean rust pathogen September 10th, 2021

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project