Connecting the nucleus and autophagy in plant defence
Autophagy is a major renewal mechanism of the cell that removes damaged or redundant cellular components in eukaryotes. It is a defensive mechanism of plants against pathogens and could open new paths to improving disease resistance in crops. Research on plant autophagy initially emphasised cytoplasmic mechanisms and targets. However, the degradation of nuclear components and the epigenetic regulation of autophagy have recently attracted increasing attention in yeast and mammalian systems. The EU-funded NUCLAGY project is based on the researcher’s findings that several isoforms of the Arabidopsis core autophagy protein 8 (ATG8) localise to distinct nuclear components. The project will identify nuclear ATG8 interactomes in physiological and disease conditions by affinity-immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry analysis. The characterisation of interactors is expected to uncover novel regulators and nuclear targets of autophagy with implications for plant defence and crop improvement.
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