How does it feel?

Plants might not feel pain as such, but they need a way to get damage signals around their body. A new study uncovers some of the process.

Dr. habil. Krzysztof Jaworski, NCU professor from the Chair of Physiology of Plants and Biotechnology of the Faculty of Biological and Veterinary Sciences of the University in Toruń and Mateusz Kwiatkowski, M.Sc. Photo credit Andrzej Romański

When humans get hurt, they feel pain, but that pain signal passes through a chain of relay reactions. A similar thing happens to plants.  When a stimulus appears, for instance a pathogen attack, a plant receives this information through a receptor, analyses it, sometimes amplifies it and forms a corresponding reaction. 

“[A] plant hormone auxin, the major intracellular regulator of plant growth and development, is like a finger which pushes domino blocks.  The first block is the receptor, the activation of which moves other blocks.  At the end of this chain is a little ball, the final factor, which changes the expression of a defined set of genes, either inhibiting or activating the formation of proteins which affect the final physiological response of the organism,” says Dr. Krzysztof Jaworski.

Tests on plants as diverse as Arabidopsis and moss show that this is likely to be a common system for all plants.

The current model of canonical auxin signalling relies on TIR1/AFB auxin receptors acting as F-box proteins, which form a functional SCF-type E3 ubiquitin ligase together with other subunits… Here we show that TIR1/AFB receptors have an additional, AC activity that requires the AC motif in the C-terminal region of the protein… Given that TIR1/AFB receptors from both Arabidopsis and moss demonstrate similar AC activity, it is likely that TIR1/AFB receptors across all land plants share this activity.

Qi et al. 2022.

📰 Press Release: Eurekalert
🔬 Research: Adenylate cyclase activity of TIR1/AFB auxin receptors in plants @ Nature.
🥽 ReadCube: rdcu.be/cYlU1

Dale Maylea was a system for adding value to press releases. Now he's a manual algorithm for blogging any papers that Alun Salt thinks are interesting. The idea being telling people about an interesting paper NOW beats telling people about an interesting paper at some time in the future, when there's time to sit down and take things slowly.

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