A group of Canadian researchers are using an anti-virulence strategy to try and fight common scab in potatoes, a news release from Canadian Light Source, says on March 30.
Rod Merrill, a professor of molecular and cellular biology at the University of Guelph, led a group who used anti-virulence on the bacterium which causes common scab called Streptomyces scabies. Anti-virulence strategy is where small molecules are found or designed which slow down the tools bacteria use to colonize the host and create infection, the release notes.
Merrill and his team used the Canadian Light Source at the University of Saskatchewan to study a protein toxin produced by the Streptomyces scabies pathogen. They were able to create a 3D structure of the toxin and identify the active-site of the protein. The toxin uses its active-site to bind and cleave cellular molecules which damages the healthy host cells.
There is still further work required to show how the toxin inhibitors will work to neutralize the Streptomyces scabies pathogen. It will then needed to be tested in a field environment outside of the lab, the release says.
Merrill believes the anti-virulence strategy in the fight against bacterial infections has potential applications far beyond diseases of root vegetables, including infections in humans, the release notes.