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Researchers discover defense mechanisms in some plants believed bred out by humans

-glucosidase-BGAF aggregate is involved in defense, Esen said, and behaves much like a football team that surrounds the ball carrier and keeps him from moving.

The researchers' project is to understand the interaction between beta-glucosidase and BGAF--how they recognize each other and bind so tightly. Thus far, they have evidence of three genes that make BGAF, but they need to find out which one, which part of the molecule, is recognized. They will do that through genetic engineering--changing the gene for BGAF, producing the protein in bacteria and yeast, and then testing it with the enzyme.

The ultimate goal is to provide evidence of the biological function of the binding and aggregation, understand the defense system, and produce plants that can once again defend themelves--to reengineer the plants in an artificial setting to enable them to do what they could originally do: survive on their own.


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Contact: Sally Harris
slharris@vt.edu
540-231-6759
Virginia Tech
18-Nov-2004


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