Carbohydrate camouflage

An unusual carbohydrate structure on bacterial cell surface acts as camouflage against fungal defenses, according to a team led by Antonio Molinaro at the University of Naples and Christian Hertweck at the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology in Jena. The unusual carbohydrate allows a symbiosis to exist between a bacterium and a fungus that affects rice plants. Without it the symbiosis breaks down and the bacteria succumb to the fungi making the molecule a potential target for agrochemicals to prevent fungal infection an important crop plant.