Biotech Updates

Researchers Discover Receptor Vital to Plant Response to Injury and Pests

January 29, 2014

University of Missouri plant science researchers have found a receptor in plants that could be a vital component in the way plants respond to threat, including pests, environmental changes, and plant wounds. Led by plant sciences Professor Gary Stacey, the researchers are focusing on the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main energy source inside a cell. Stacey and his fellow researchers screened 50,000 plants over two years and found the receptor that aids in plant development and helps repair a plant during major events.

Stacey explained that plants use chemical signals to determine if they are being preyed upon or if an environmental change is happening. He said "We have evidence that when ATP is outside the cell it is probably a central signal that controls the plant's ability to respond to a whole variety of stresses. When a plant is wounded, ATP is released into the wound and triggers the gene expressions necessary for repair." The researchers believe that further study may be able to identify ways to naturally work with a plant's own processes to protect it from major environmental events, plant wounds, and insects.

For more details about this research, read the news release available at