Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hormone acting as ‘molecular glue’ could boost plant immune systems

07.10.2010
The discovery of a hormone acting like molecular glue could hold a key to bolstering plant immune systems and understanding how plants cope with environmental stress.

The study, which is featured in the Oct. 6 issue of Nature, reveals how the plant hormone jasmonate binds two proteins together – an emerging new concept in hormone biology and protein chemistry. The study also identifies the receptor’s crystal structure to provide the first molecular view of how plants ward off attacks by insects and pathogens.

In short, the work explains how a highly dynamic form of plant immunity is triggered, said Gregg Howe, biochemistry and molecular biology professor, who worked with fellow MSU professor Sheng Yang He on the study. The study is a collaboration between the MSU-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory and the University of Washington.

“In many respects, this receptor is novel in how it binds its target hormone to switch on gene expression,” Howe said. “Jasmonate appears to act as molecular glue that sticks two proteins together, which sets off a chain of events leading to the immune response. Determining the structure of the receptor solves a big missing piece of the puzzle.”

Earlier research conducted by Howe and He helped to unveil the mechanism of action of jasmonate, the last major plant hormone to have its signaling pathway decoded. When a plant is attacked, the jasmonate signal causes direct interaction between a family of JAZ repressor proteins and the F-box protein COI1, which works to eliminate JAZ proteins so the plant can mount a defense.

Reconstructing the molecular mechanism of jasmonate perception revealed a multicomponent signaling hub. Instead of working as a single protein, which is typical of most receptors, this new receptor is actually a co-receptor complex that consists of COI1, JAZ and a newly discovered third component, inositol pentakisphosphate, Howe said.

Now that researchers understand the structure, they can design new hormone derivatives or other small molecules that can trigger a desired response. Such compounds could help to increase agricultural productivity by aiding plants in resisting bugs and diseases, he added.

The Nature study shows that plants and animals use fundamentally different mechanisms to perceive this type of fatty acid-derived hormone. Humans have prostaglandin hormones, which are structurally similar to jasmonates and also play a role in immune responses. So this study may hold potential benefits for humans as well.

“Plants offer a rich opportunity to understand basic biological processes that are relevant to human health,” Howe said. “The new structural insight into jasmonate perception could have practical applications in medicine, including the design of drugs that stick two proteins together.”

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy and supported by the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station.

Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.

Layne Cameron | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.msu.edu

Further reports about: Hormon MSU Nature Immunology biological process immune response plant hormone

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin
13.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>