Crop Biotech Update

Blueprint for Plant's Immune Response has been Found

January 16, 2019

Researchers from Washington State University have discovered the way plants respond to disease-causing organisms, and how they protect themselves. Results published in the journal Plant Physiology show how adenosine 5-triphospate (ATP), a part of DNA and energy production in cells, becomes a signal for injury or infection. That signal triggers defense responses in plants.

David Gang, WSU professor said, "We found the pathways that connect ATP to plant cell responses protecting the plant." The research team used wild plants as well as plants with improvements in the major pathways of plant defense. The scientists would trigger an ATP response in a modified sample to trace the signal's path to the receptor, then reproduce that in the other samples. Extra-cellular ATP turns on defense responses, partly through these major defense pathways, and partly independently of them, but they all work together.

The receptor that receives the damage signal ATP was found in 2014, but until now scientists didn't know how this signal caused an immune response in plants. "Future plant breeding can now increase plant defense or resistance based on knowing these pathways," Gang said.

For more details, read the article in CAHNRS News.