When plants come under attack internal alarm bells ring and their defence mechanisms swing into action – and it happens in the space of just a few minutes.
Now, for the first time, plant scientists – including experts from The University of Nottingham – have imaged, in real time, what happens when plants beat off the bugs and respond to disease and damage.
The research, “A fluorescent hormone biosensor reveals the dynamics of jasmonate signalling in plants”, was carried out by an interdisciplinary team from the UK, France and Switzerland and has been published in the leading academic journal Nature Communications.
Malcolm Bennett, Professor in Plant Science at The University of Nottingham and Director of the Centre for Plant Integrative Biology, said: “Understanding how plants respond to mechanical damage, such as insect attack, is important for developing crops which cope better under stress.”
Their research focussed on the plant hormone jasmonic acid which is part of the plant’s alarm system and defence mechanism. Jasmonic acid is released during insect attack and controls the response to damage. Disease can also trigger jasmonic acid – so it’s a general defence compound.
Professor Bennett said: “We have created a special fluorescent protein – Jas9-VENUS – that is rapidly degraded after jasmonic acid is produced. This allowed us to monitor where jasmonic levels are increased when the fluorescent signal is lost.”
Defences can be prepared in minutes
Using a blade to damage a leaf the research team mimicked an insect feeding. With the fluorescent protein they were able to image how damage to a leaf quickly results in a pulse of jasmonic acid that reaches all the way down to the tip of the root, at a speed of more than a centimetre per minute. Once this hormone pulse reaches the root it triggers more jasmonic acid to be produced locally, amplifying the wounding signal and ensuring other parts of the plant are prepared for attack.
Professor Bennett said: “Jasmonic acid triggers the production of defence compounds like protease inhibitors to stop the insect being able to digest the plant proteins – the plant becomes indigestible and the insect stops eating it.”
Laurent Laplaze, a group leader at IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement) in Montpellier, described the new biosensor used to pinpoint what happens when plants are damaged. He said: “The Jas9-VENUS biosensor responds to changes in jasmonic acid levels in plant cells within a few minutes. Our new biosensor now allows us to see exactly where jasmonic acid is being perceived by the plant, but in a quantifiable way.”
More to learn about how plants coordinate their defences
The new biosensor can be used to understand how the plant can coordinate a defence response.
Read more: Biosecurity seen from the inside
The Latest on: Biosecurity
via Google News
The Latest on: Biosecurity
- Al Jazira Poultry Farm focuses on biosecurity and environment-friendly processeson October 8, 2020 at 6:01 am
Established in 1999, Dubai-based Al Jazira Poultry Farm is the largest egg producer in the UAE. Its eggs have earned the name Golden Eggs as they have bright golden yolks. The fine quality of the ...
- UAE- Climate Change Minister chairs 3rd meeting of National Biosecurity Committee for 2020on October 7, 2020 at 4:08 pm
Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, today chaired the third meeting of the National Biosecurity Committee for 2020. As the first order of business, Abu D ...
- A Culture of Responsibility: Laboratory Safety at the FDAon October 7, 2020 at 2:08 pm
October 2020 is the seventh anniversary of Biosafety & Biosecurity Month, an initiative begun at NIH to raise awareness and improve the effectiveness of biosafety programs nationwide. This year ...
- Australian melon industry releases videos to improve biosecurityon October 7, 2020 at 6:09 am
Melons Australia biosecurity officer, Joanna Embry, said the campaign would initially be targeted towards growing regions in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland where harvest ...
- Flower industry raises biosecurity concerns over bloom importson October 7, 2020 at 3:34 am
Flower growers are concerned about the high volume of imports and the biosecurity risks they bring, and said consumers deserve to know where flowers are grown. Picture: Darren Leigh Roberts But ...
- House Subcommittees Hold Hearing on Biosecurityon October 2, 2020 at 5:30 am
2020-10-02T10:02:43-04:00https://images.c-span.org/Files/a54/20201002113400010_hd.jpgA House Armed Services subcommittee and House Foreign Affairs subcommittee held a ...
- Joint House Hearing on Biosecurityon October 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm
A House Armed Services subcommittee and House Foreign Affairs subcommittee held a hybrid hearing on strengthening biological security. Members questioned Department of Defense and State Department ...
- SA potato imports: Biosecurity Tasmania releases statement of reasonson September 30, 2020 at 11:00 am
Biosecurity Tasmania released its statement of the reason behind its controversial decision to approve a request from SA-based Mitolo Group, to import potatoes into Tasmania. A significant reason ...
via Bing News