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Biologists unlocking the secrets of plant defenses, 1 piece at a time
Date:12/5/2012

transcription.

"This tight repression of transcription factors may be important because activation of jasmonate signaling, although important for plant defense against pathogens and insects, is energy-consuming and could lead to growth inhibition a widely known phenomenon called growth-defense tradeoff," said He, the Michigan State plant biologist. "In other words, plants have developed a mechanism to tightly repress presumably energy-consuming, jasmonate-mediated defense responses until it becomes necessary, such as upon pathogen and insect attacks."

The National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Energy, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation funded the work featured in the recent paper.

Melotto said understanding jasmonate signaling at the molecular level is also vital because some plant pathogens, such as Pseudomonas syringae, have developed ways to mimic the hormone's action in the cell. This gives them the ability to aggressively colonize plants without activating natural defense mechanisms, she said.

Melotto, who is currently receiving National Institutes of Health funding to examine plant defenses, said the next step in her jasmonate research is to determine which domain of the JAZ protein is responsible for plant innate immunity.

"This is one way to have sustainable agriculture," Melotto said of the research. "By increasing genetic resistance we could reduce the use of pesticides, decrease crop production costs and promote environmentally friendly farming practices."


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Contact: Traci Peterson
tpeterso@uta.edu
817-272-9208
University of Texas at Arlington
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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