New research reveals the mechanism of plant “rapid action” to resist infection, which may increase crop yield and fight global hunger

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034638607aa6b46 - New research reveals the mechanism of plant "rapid action" to resist infection, which may increase crop yield and fight global hunger

Rhee explained: “Understanding how plants respond to stressful environments is crucial to developing strategies to protect important food and biofuel crops from changing climate.”

Zhao and Rhee and Benjamin Jin of Carnegie Mellon University and Deze Kong and Christina smolke of Stanford University in eLife The new work published on the has studied how the production of a plant defense compound called camalexin is activated at the gene level.

“since plants grow in a fixed position, they cannot escape predators or pathogens,” the researchers explained. “Instead, they have evolved to produce compounds that help them resist invaders and other functions.”

camalexin, like other plant metabolites, is a protein synthesis called enzymes. It performs many functional functions of cells. When plants are under environmental pressure, it activates the genes encoding these enzymes. Researchers set out to clarify how a plant cell can quickly start the “production line” And respond to external conditions or threats when appropriate.

9fea5b8c1b4e416 - New research reveals the mechanism of plant "rapid action" to resist infection, which may increase crop yield and fight global hunger

the genetic material of a cell encodes the formula for the production of these camalexin production enzymes and all the proteins required by the cell to perform the necessary functions under various conditions at each stage of its life “Imagine that a cell’s genome is a huge library, each gene is a book, and each chromosome is an extremely huge bookshelf,” Rhee said. “Cells have different mechanisms. They can quickly find the genes they need in this huge information base so that they can be transcribed and translated, produce encoded proteins, and respond to environmental conditions, including threats and pressures.”

these strategies are included in all genes and related materials (collectively referred to as chromatin) Add or remove labels or markers from the structure of, which can enhance or inhibit the expression of specific genes. Sometimes, activation and inhibition elements exist at the same time, which is called bivalent chromatin.

researchers can clarify the existence of a bivalent chromatin type that has never been described — they call kairostat, which makes the biosynthetic pathway of camalexin inactive and direct There is a pathogen signal. Their results show that these two elements are needed to control the appropriate time for plants to respond to external stress.

“camalexin and other defense compounds are usually very expensive and toxic to plants. Therefore, it is disadvantageous for plants to manufacture them all the time,” the researchers said. “Plant scientists have long known that these defense compounds are produced when plants are attacked by pests and pathogens. Now we have a new understanding of a molecular mechanism that gives a precise time for the production of camalexin. This discovery can provide information for strategies to combat climate change and global hunger, and even for the development of plant-derived drugs Synthesis provides information. ”

looking ahead, the team hopes to qualitatively identify all proteins involved in the establishment and removal of epigenetic markers, so as to identify more kairostats and better understand their role in environmental response and other plant functions