[Wolfgang Schmidt] Uninvited guestsPOST:
Phytoplasmas are prokaryotic plant pathogens that colonize the sieve elements of their host plant, causing severe alterations in phloem function and impairment of assimilate translocation. In an ongoing collaboration between Simonetta Santi’s group from the Universitá degli Sudi in Udine (Italy) and Wolfgang Schmidt’s team, the researchers showed that in Fe-deficient plants phytoplasma infection perturbed the Fe deficiency response in roots, possibly by interference with the synthesis or transport of a promotive signal transmitted from the leaves to the roots (BMC Genomics 20: 703). Recently, the two groups teamed up to investigate effects of ‘Ca.P. solani’ infection on mineral element allocation. The study revealed that the response to phytoplasma includes significant changes in the homeostasis of ions such as K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Fe2+ and Mn2+ and dramatic alterations in the expression of related transmembrane transporters in the host plant.