A Method for Enhancing or Defeating the Potential of Ectophosphatases to Influence the Toxin Resistance of Cells

Background Cultivated plants, including food, fiber, and oil crops, are treated with a number of chemical products during their life cycle. These include various insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other pesticides. The use of these compounds is often essential to achieve economically relevant production efficiencies; however, each of these products poses environmental and health risks. Therefore, a means to reduce the amount of chemistries applied to crops is urgently needed.

Many investigators have sought to identify "adjuvanting" compounds. These products, when co-applied with a functional chemistry, improve the effectiveness of the chemistry and reduce the amount of the chemistry necessary to be efficacious. However, these compounds have been difficult to identify due to our imprecise understanding of plant transporter mechanisms.

Invention Description Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have identified a new class of adjuvanting chemistries. The new class of agents has emerged from an improved understanding of plant membrane transport. ABC transporters play many roles in plants, one of which is the export of toxic substances and other xenobiotics from plant cells. Ectophosphatase activity enhances the transport efficiency of ABC transporters, and thus provides a novel method to control the resistance of cells to toxins.

A new understanding has emerged concerning the role of ectophosphatase activity and ATP-toxin symport, allowing more potent agents to be identified which increase the potency of various insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other pesticides in plants. Further, the current mechanism provides for interesting applications outside of plants to those of animal cells which share common mechanistic features.

IP Status One U.S. patent application filed

UT Researcher Stanley J. Roux, Ph.D., ICMB, The University of Texas at Austin

Type of Offer: Licensing

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