Researchers at the James Hutton Institute have discovered blue light reduces how potatoes can protect themselves against late blight, a Jan. 12 news release says.
“Blue light was found to suppress plants’ usual immune response to a characteristic pathogen molecule and make the host more susceptible to disease,” Eleanor Gilroy, a molecular plant pathologist at the James Hutton Institute and co-author of the study, says in the release.
The group of researchers found while blue light is important for plant growth it inhibits the immune response of potato plants to Phytophthora infestans. This makes them more susceptible to potato late blight.
The research team was lead by Paul Birch from the University of Dundee. The team identified a signalling pathway in potato plant cells which negatively regulates immunity to the late blight pathogen, when stimulated with blue light.
P infestans, the pathogen responsible for late blight, delivers a number of proteins into the host plant to manipulate host systems and cause disease, the release notes. The research team found one of these proteins binds to an important control point between the plant’s response to blue light and immunity to late blight.