Bản tin chủ nhật 9-1-2022
Bản tin số 1


Figure: Combating aflatoxin for healthy world.
Mars Chocolate North America, LLC and ICRISAT launched a new research project to deploy advanced sequencing tools and genomics approaches for developing low aflatoxin contamination (LAC) peanut. The four-year US$ 1 million project aims to identify superior LAC lines, pyramid superior haplotypes for aflatoxin contamination in market-preferred peanut varieties and mine additional superior haplotypes for aflatoxin contamination, seed features and yield related traits through germplasm sequencing and analysis.
Aflatoxins are produced during infection and growth of Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus fungi on crops such as peanut. Aflatoxins are carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and teratogenic (affecting fetal development). Peanuts are among the crops most susceptible to aflatoxin contamination and serve as the main source of aflatoxin contamination in humans. Owing to strict restrictions in peanut exports to North America (aflatoxin contamination at maximum 20 μg/kg) and Europe (maximum 10 μg/kg), smallholder farmers elsewhere do not receive the desired price for their produce if it has aflatoxin contamination. Furthermore, because of the limited availability of aflatoxin-free peanuts in the markets, food processors and confectionary manufacturers have to buy a limited amount of high-quality peanuts at exorbitant prices. Similarly, smallholder farmers in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa face challenges of exporting their produce because of high aflatoxin contamination in groundnut crops. To address these challenges, ICRISAT and Mars Chocolate have been working together and have identified several LAC lines along with superior haplotypes associated with aflatoxin contamination traits (ACTs).
“We are happy to take this research partnership forward which perfectly aligns with our vision of a prosperous, food-secure and resilient drylands in Asia and Africa,” said Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT, during the signing of the project agreement earlier this year.
Bản tin số 2

Accelerating financial inclusion of women in agri-food systems: What works?

Avni Mishra, Ranjitha Puskur, Linda Etale
One cannot refute the contribution women provide to the agriculture sector where they constitute 43% of the agricultural labor force. 79% of these women depend on agriculture as their primary source of income. In addition to the agricultural activities which span from production, post-harvest, marketing, and agro-processing activities, women are also actively involved in other unpaid domestic activities. Greater access to farming resources for women can improve agricultural production by as much as 4%. Often women are unable to access inputs and productive resources needed for farming due to capital and cash constraints. As a lot of their labour is unpaid, steady incomes and cash flow often becomes a challenge for them. In most rural societies and households, men also control women’s income and make decisions on its use. Access to capital is thus important for women, but continues to remain a challenge. They continue to depend on usurious moneylenders resulting in a debt trap. Financial inclusion of women is critical to allow them and  their families to progress.
Being financially included can be transformative for women within agriculture and food systems. Active participation of women in the financial system can enhance their access to inputs, labor, equipment, markets, technology, and sustaining their agri-businesses. They can better manage their risks, smooth consumption in the face of shocks and fund household expenditure that is likely to contribute to their social and economic empowerment and that of their dependents. Women in Uganda, Rwanda and Bangladesh were able to rely on their savings for emergency response instead of borrowing from informal sources and demonstrated resilience in the face Covid 19 Pandemic.
Bản tin khoa học

A designer rice NLR immune receptor confers resistance to the rice blast fungus carrying noncorresponding avirulence effectors

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A (PNAS); 2021 Nov 2; 118(44): e2110751118.  
doi: 10.1073/pnas.2110751118.


Plant nucleotide-binding and leucine-rich repeat (NLR) receptors recognize avirulence effectors directly through their integrated domains (IDs) or indirectly via the effector-targeted proteins. Previous studies have succeeded in generating designer NLR receptors with new recognition profiles by engineering IDs or targeted proteins based on prior knowledge of their interactions with the effectors. However, it is yet a challenge to design a new plant receptor capable of recognizing effectors that function by unknown mechanisms. Several rice NLR immune receptors, including RGA5, possess an integrated heavy metal-associated (HMA) domain that recognizes corresponding Magnaporthe oryzae Avrs and ToxB-like (MAX) effectors in the rice blast fungus. Here, we report a designer rice NLR receptor RGA5HMA2 carrying an engineered, integrated HMA domain (RGA5-HMA2) that can recognize the noncorresponding MAX effector AvrPib and confers the RGA4-dependent resistance to the M. oryzae isolates expressing AvrPib, which originally triggers the Pib-mediated blast resistance via unknown mechanisms. The RGA5-HMA2 domain is contrived based on the high structural similarity of AvrPib with two MAX effectors, AVR-Pia and AVR1-CO39, recognized by cognate RGA5-HMA, the binding interface between AVR1-CO39 and RGA5-HMA, and the distinct surface charge of AvrPib and RAG5-HMA. This work demonstrates that rice NLR receptors with the HMA domain can be engineered to confer resistance to the M. oryzae isolates noncorresponding but structurally similar MAX effectors, which manifest cognate NLR receptor-mediated resistance with unknown mechanisms. Our study also provides a practical approach for developing rice multilines and broad race spectrum-resistant cultivars by introducing a series of engineered NLR receptors.
RGA5-HMA2 recognizes AvrPib in vitro and in vivo. (A) Y2H assays showing the specific interactions of RGA5-HMA domain (residues 982 to 1,116) with AVR-Pia and RGA5-HMA2 domain (residues 982 to 1,116) with AvrPib. (B) MBP pull-down assays showing the specific interaction of the RGA5-HMA domain with AVR-Pia and the RGA5-HMA2 domain with AvrPib. The recombinant proteins MBP-RGA5-HMA, MBP-RGA5-HMA2, HA-AvrPib, and HA-AVR-Pia purified from E. coli were used for the MBP pull-down analysis. The fusion proteins were detected using the anti-HA and anti-MBP antibodies. (C) MST analysis showing the dissociation constants of AvrPib and AVR-Pia with the RGA5-HMA or RGA5-HMA2 domain. The experiment was repeated three times. Bars ± SD (n = 3). (D) Co-IP of RGA5HMA2 (full-length RGA5 with the integrated engineered HMA domain [HMA2]) with AvrPib. HA-RGA5HMA2 and GFP-AvrPib were transiently coexpressed in N. benthamiana leaves, and the proteins extracted from the leaves were incubated with GFP beads and detected separately by the anti-HA and anti-GFP antibodies.
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