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
- More frontline biosecurity officers protecting NZon November 13, 2019 at 8:44 pm
Another 51 quarantine officers and four new biosecurity detector dog teams will help protect New Zealand from invasive pests and diseases this summer, says Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “The ...
- Farm Fact: Biosecurity Managementon November 12, 2019 at 3:11 am
ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB)--Florida's agricultural industry relies on Biosecurity Management's best practices to protect the health of livestock herds by preventing the introduction of pathogens and ...
- Sniffer dog Suki finds pork and other biosecurity risks during first month on the job in Darwinon November 11, 2019 at 7:17 pm
Since arriving in Darwin last month, sniffer dog Suki has detected a range of biosecurity risks, including pork products NT Farmers Association calling for heightened level of biosecurity to become ...
- Increased fines and border refusals proposed under Biosecurity Member’s Billon November 9, 2019 at 4:38 pm
A Member's Bill to give border officials the authority to refuse entry to New Zealand to people who knowingly bring in high-risk biosecurity items has been lodged by Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker.
- Horizons' Didymo Dave wins New Zealand Biosecurity Awardon November 8, 2019 at 8:16 am
Didymo Dave has been named one of New Zealand's biosecurity champions. David Cade, known as Didymo Dave for his work in the Central Plateau region, has received the Minister for Primary Industries' ...
- My bill to strengthen our biosecurity frontlineon November 7, 2019 at 4:26 pm
OPINION: Biosecurity is of immense importance to New Zealand, but it is a system under huge pressure with 5.5 million passengers arriving every year and a warming climate which makes it even more ...
- We must share the biosecurity loadon November 7, 2019 at 3:00 pm
With African Swine Fever on our doorstep, it's disappointing to see that people are being intentionally non-compliant with our biosecurity laws, putting our agricultural industries and environment at ...
- People should be refused border entry if caught bringing in biosecurity risks - National MP Hamish Walkeron November 7, 2019 at 8:29 am
There are calls within Parliament for border officials to have more authority when dealing with people who are knowingly bringing high-risk biosecurity items into the country. National MP Hamish ...
- Te Arawa Catfish Killas win supreme NZ biosecurity awardon November 4, 2019 at 5:34 pm
Te Arawa Catfish Killas took out the top prize at the New Zealand Biosecurity Awards last night- beating out entrants from major national companies, government agencies and large established projects.
- 'Catfish Killas' take top honours in biosecurity awardson November 4, 2019 at 2:05 pm
An initiative to get rid of an unwanted pest from Lake Rotoiti has taken out the supreme award in the 2019 New Zealand Biosecurity Awards. The awards celebrate people across New Zealand who are ...
via Bing News