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Scientists help plants regenerate after damage

In response to attacks on the environment, plants use their resources either for defense mechanisms or for repairing damage. By affecting the function of glutamate receptors using the neuroantagonist CNQX, the regeneration of damaged or lost organs is improved. In this image, the leaves of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana are peeled off, so a new root system (LEFT) cannot be generated. However, in the presence of chemicals, many longer roots emerge (right). Credit: Poliana Coqueiro

Led by researchers at the Center for Genome Systems Biology, New York University Developing cells..


By understanding how plants regulate these reactions, researchers were able to move damaged plants towards repair rather than defense. This is a strategy that helps improve the regeneration of important staple food crops such as corn.

Will you be attacked? Plants “fight or fix”

Plants suffer a variety of attacks and injuries, including caterpillars and rabbits munching on the leaves, and larvae and fungi attacking the roots.

“Plants can hardly go for a few days without some kind. injury.. As a result, they have developed a sophisticated strategy to respond, “said Kenneth Bernbaum, a professor at New York University Department of Biology and the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology and lead author of the study.

Unlike animals that react “fight or flight” when attacked, plants cannot run. Instead, the injury triggers a “fight or fix” reaction on the plant, encouraging it to regenerate damaged or missing parts or protect itself. Plants protect themselves by rapidly producing compounds designed to block animals and pathogens from further attacks (these secondary compounds give us medicines such as morphine, paclitaxel and colchicine). It has proven to be particularly useful in giving medicine).

Trade-off between defense and regeneration

In this study, we sought to understand how “fight or correction” responses were linked. Whether they are activated together and ramp up at the same time, or there is a trade-off and one response increases as one response decreases.Researcher researched ArabidopsisMaize is a small plant widely used as a model organism for plant biology, the largest crop in the United States, and a very important food source for humans and animals.

After cutting and injuring the tip and other parts of the plant’s roots, researchers have observed that the plant produces a regenerative and defensive response, but does not increase both to its maximum capacity. In fact, lowering one reaction increases the other. ..

“Like seesaws and scales, the reaction of’fighting or modifying’seems to be relevant,” said Marcella Hernandez Coronado of Mexico’s Simvestav. When one goes up, the other goes down. The plant is essentially hedging bets after the attack. ” The lead author of the study and a former postdoctoral fellow at New York University.

Researchers have found that this balance of regeneration and defense response is regulated by plants. Glutamate receptor-Like (GLRs) proteins, a distant relative of the glutamate receptors found in the brain. This allowed them to study the response of plants to injury using drugs commonly used in neurobiology research. GLR is involved in the defense response of plants, but in this study, GLR also played a role in post-injury regeneration by dialing down the regeneration system and increasing the defense response.

Targeting glutamate receptors to promote regeneration

Knowing that GLR controls both regeneration and defense responses gives you the opportunity to improve crop growth. This is especially true for grains such as corn, sorghum and wheat, which are particularly resistant to regeneration.

“These glutamate receptors provide a’drug-discoverable target’that can be used to promote plant regeneration and reproduction,” Birnbaum said.

Researchers have targeted GLR by inhibiting receptor activity through two means: genetics and drugs. The Genetic researchWith the support of José Feijó of the University of Maryland and his laboratory, we compared the damaging responses of normal plants to “quadruple mutants” (plants with mutations in the four genes involved in GLR). Researchers have found that four-fold mutants are better at regeneration. This suggests that the mutation impaired the defense response and thereby enhanced the regeneration response.

Researchers also used three neuron antagonists to block GLR activity. Each of the three drugs blocked GLR-mediated signaling after plant damage. plantA decision-making process to support regeneration. This dramatically improved regeneration even more than the quadruple mutant.

“Readjust the balance between plants defense And playback can be used to improve reproduction For biotechnology, conservation and reproduction of staple crops, “Barnbaum said,” In the face of climate change and food insecurity, it is important to breed crops that are easier to regenerate and adapt to new environments. ” Stated.


The team discovers a new role in a molecule well known as a plant hormone


For more information:
Kenneth D. Birnbaum, a plant glutamate receptor, mediates a bet hedging strategy between regeneration and defense, Developing cells (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.devcel.2022.01.013.. www.cell.com/developmental-cel… 1534-5807 (22) 00038-7

Quote: Fix instead of fight: Scientists help plants regenerate after injury (February 10, 2022).

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Scientists help plants regenerate after damage

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