A new study made by a multi-center team led by current and former investigators from the Salk Institute in the United States has come with an answer to this question.
The researchers focused on the hormonal plant system to reveal the genes responsible for the plant response to jasmonic acid and the cellular cross-communication with other plant hormone pathways. The goal is to develop crops more able to withstand the assault, given the era of rapid climate change we live in.
Jasmonic acid is an organic compound found in several plants including jasmine. The molecule is a member of the jasmonate class of plant hormones. It regulates the plant responses to abiotic and biotic stresses as well as plant growth and development.
How genes in plants turn on and off during their defensive response
Regulated plant growth and development processes include growth inhibition, senescence, tendril coiling, flower development, and leaf abscission. It is also responsible for tuber formation in potatoes and yams. It has an important role in response to the wounding of plants and systemic acquired resistance.
Yes, plants have a hormonal system. It helps them to perceive fungi and insects attack, drought or intense heat or cold. It helps the rest of the plant to respond to these endangering factors.
Arabidopsis thaliana was the tested plant. It is a small flowering plant in the mustard family with a well-characterized genome, to make the research go smooth. The purpose was to find the activated and deactivated genes, the proteins that are produced and which factors are in control of all these cellular processes.
MYC2 and MYC3 were the most active genes in the process of the plant’s exposure to jasmonic acid. The process helps now too. “By deciphering all of these gene networks and subnetworks, it helps us to understand the architecture of the whole system. With the availability of CRISPR gene editing, these kinds of details can be useful for breeding crops that are able to better withstand attacks from pests,” author dr. Zander Zander said.
David Blair was a reporter for Henri Le Chat Noir, before becoming the lead editor. David has over 20 bylines and has reported on countless stories concerning all things related to science, games and technology. David studied at Birmingham University.