Scientists Discover Plant Molecular "Alarm" System Protects them from PredatorsMay 13, 2020
A team of researchers from Tokyo University of Science, Ehime University, Okayama University, The University of Tokyo, and Iwate Biotechnology Research Center studied how some plants sense "herbivore-derived danger signals" (HDS). These signals are specific chemicals in oral secretions of insects which activates a cascade of events in the plant's defense machinery, leading to the development of plant resistance (or immunity against) to a predator. Despite decades of research, exactly how plants recognize these signals has remained a mystery.
Led by Prof Gen-ichiro Arimura, the research team studied membrane proteins called "receptor-like kinases" (RLKs) found in soybean leaves. They based their study on previous evidence from plants such as Arabidopsis, tobacco, and cowpea, in which RLKs play a major role in HDS systems. The team focused on soybean RLK genes that are similar in structure and function to an RLK gene known to trigger danger response by recognizing oligosaccharides during pathogen attacks. They speculated that owing to these similarities, soybean genes might also show a mechanism similar to that seen in pathogen resistance.
The researchers found 15 such genes, from which they generated 15 types of Arabidopsis plants, each plant uniquely expressing only one of the 15 individual soy genes. When these plants were tested using oral secretions from the pest, they uncovered genes for two novel RLKs that showed a defense response specific to the oral secretions, called GmHAK1 and GmHAK2. The team's findings are unprecedented as the role of these RLKs in soybean HDS systems had never been revealed before. Moreover, when the scientists looked further into the mechanism of these regulatory factors in Arabidopsis, they found two proteins, a HAK homolog and PBL27 (which play a role in intracellular signaling), to be involved in this pathway. This confirmed the scientists' initial expectation that soybean and Arabidopsis possess similar mechanisms for danger response.
For more details, read the article at the Tokyo University of Science Media Relations page.
You might also like:
- Tri-trophic Study Show that Bt Crops are Not Toxic to Insect Predator, Assassin Bug
- Tritrophic Study Shows Effects of Bt Cotton on Herbivore and Its Predator
- Predators Delay Pest Resistance to Bt Crops
Biotech Updates is a weekly newsletter of ISAAA, a not-for-profit organization. It is distributed for free to over 22,000 subscribers worldwide to inform them about the key developments in biosciences, especially in biotechnology. Your support will help us in our mission to feed the world with knowledge. You can help by donating as little as $10.
See more articles:
News from Around the World
- Global Demand for Cotton Declines Due to COVID-19 Crisis
- Bolivia to Speed Up Evaluation of GM Crops
- Review Shows Biotechnological Strategies to Develop Drought Resistant Crops
- Plants Have Memories, But How Do Plants Forget?
- Scientists Discover Plant Molecular "Alarm" System Protects them from Predators
- Comparative Genomics Helps Reduce Spread of Bacterial Canker in Tomatoes
- CRISPR-Cas9 Used to Study Genes Involved in Grapevine Disease Symptoms
- International Plant Biotech Experts Weigh in on New Breeding Technology Regulations
- Scientists Clone SARS-CoV-2 Genome Using Quick Yeast-Based Method
- COVID-19 Treatment Efforts Using Plant Technologies
Read the latest:
- Biotech Updates (March 29, 2023)
- Genome Editing Supplement (March 22, 2023)
- Gene Drive Supplement (February 22, 2023)
Subscribe to BU: