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Plant smoke detectors evolve as hormone sensors

New research shows how plant molecules that originally evolved to detect smoke were adapted as hormone sensors for pea plants. This generally has a wide range of effects on crops and green plants.Credits: Nitzan Shabek, University of California, Davis

Wildfires are devastating, but they can also bring new life by removing existing vegetation and growing new plants. Many plants in fire-prone areas actually need to be exposed to fire in order for seeds to germinate. Over the last decade, scientists have discovered an ancient receptor protein that can detect a molecule called karrikin in smoke from burned plant material. A “smoke detector” protein called KAI2 initiates a molecular signal that accelerates seed germination.


Curiously, the KAI2 protein also appears in a wide variety of plant species that do not live in fire zones. A team of researchers, led by Professor Nitzan Shabek and Angelica Guercio, now Shabek’s graduate students at the University of California, Davis, Department of Plant Biology, have unveiled these receptors for pea. plantShow that they also play a role in sensing Growth hormone With plants. The jobs Issued February 11th Communication biology..

Researchers examined peas because they belong to legumes, one of the largest families of flowering plants, including several crop species. Legumes have the ability to “fix” nitrogen from the air through symbiosis with microorganisms.

They found that the original KAI2 gene was replicated early in the evolution of legumes, producing two genes, KAI2A and KAI2B. They use a variety of advanced techniques such as genetics, biochemistry, and protein crystallization, where two receptors respond to different ligands, and KAI2B contains a new class of plant hormones called strigolactones in particular. I found that it has a wide range.use Structural biology They were also able to determine, at atomic resolution, a new catalytic intermediate for the KAI2 enzyme that reacts with the strigolactone molecule.

“With our collaborators, simply integrate the findings from the atomic structure and mass spectrometric tests of KAI2 receptors with experiments in plants and how these receptors evolve to sense hormones. Instead, we were able to clarify whether they would be catalyzed correctly. “Shabeck said.

Strigolactone as a plant hormone

Strigolactone is known to affect a variety of plant processes, including root and shoot growth, and how root networks react to fungi and microorganisms in the soil. Through the new work, the team was able to gain a better understanding of the mysterious Karrikin signaling pathway and its receptor’s purpose in non-fire-related plants. This area has extensive impacts on legume agricultural systems and food production, as well as on the entire cohort of green plants, Shabeck said.

This work is part of an ongoing collaboration with Alexandre de Saint Germaine, Catherine Rameau, Fran├žois-Didier Boyer of the University of Paris Sacre in Versailles, France, and Caroline Gutjahr of the University of Munich, Germany. Other authors of this paper are Sarar Torabi David Cornu, Marion Dalmais, Abdelhafid Bendahmane, Christine Le Signor, Jean-Paul Pillot, Philippe Le Bris.


Scientists reveal how invading plants get off to a good start after a fire


For more information:
Angelica M. Guercio et al, Structural and Functional Analysis, Explain the Diversity of Pea KAI2 Receptors and Reveal Stereoselective Catalysis in Signal Perception. Communication biology (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s42003-022-03085-6

Quote: Plant smoke detector acquired by Hormone Sensor (February 11, 2022) from https://phys.org/news/2022-02-detectors-evolve-hormone-sensors.html on February 11, 2022 Evolve as it is done

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Plant smoke detectors evolve as hormone sensors

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