Washington: Scientists have identified two key `fungal` proteins responsible for the production of oxygen radicals, a finding which they claim has an important role in plant growth and symbiosis.
An international team, led by Massey University, has found that the polarity proteins Bem1 and Cdc24 are components of the filamentous fungal NADPH oxidase complex, `Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences` journal reported.
"These oxygen radicals, while damaging in large concentrations, play a vital role in cell growth and development when produced in localised bursts. For example, they trigger the growth of pollen tubes and root hair in plants, and control development of the inner ear in humans," Prof Barry Scott, who led the team, said.
In fact, the scientists have been studying the role of oxygen radicals in the fungal endophyte or grass symbiosis.
"The production of these radicals is important for maintaining a stable symbiosis. Our new work identifies two key proteins that control the activation of the oxygen radical protein complex," he said.
The proteins identified by the team, Bem1 and Cdc24, had already been shown to be crucial for budding in baker`s yeast. This work extends their role to polar growth and development in many fungi, say the scientists.
"Oxygen radical signalling is currently a hot area of biology; where these oxygen radicals are produced and how they are triggered is not well known. This work is of significance because it gives us a better understanding of how endophyte or grass symbiosis is controlled.
"But the results also have implications for a many organisms that use the same protein complex, including humans," Prof Scott said.