Images: Thomas Eisner/Cornell University; © Cornell University
Talk about multi-tasking. A new study reveals that in the St. John’s Wort plant, Hypericum calycinum, the same chemical not only attracts pollinating insects but also deters herbivores that pose a threat to its survival. The findings appear in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
To the human eye, the flowers of H. calycinum appear as uniform yellow disks (top image). Insects with ultraviolet-sensitive eyes, however, see a dark, ultraviolet-absorbing center (bottom image), which acts as a bull’s-eye to help the insects narrow in on the nectar. According to the new research, one class of pigments responsible for this UV pattern is dearomatized isoprenylated phloroglucinols, or DIPs. The investigators also found high concentrations of DIPs on the plant’s reproductive structures, which suggest that the chemicals serve additional purposes in the plant. "Just as important as attracting pollinators to a plant is producing a viable seed," team member Matthew Gronquist of Cornell University explains, "so there is an evolutionary incentive to protect the reproductive apparatus from herbivores."
Indeed, the scientists found that hypercalin A, one of the DIPs isolated from H. calycinum, deterred larvae of the rattlebox moth. Those caterpillars unlucky enough to ingest the hypercalin A died. The researchers conclude that DIPs act simultaneously to draw pollinators and discourage predators. "Now that we know where to look," study co-author Thomas Eisner remarks, "antifeedant chemicals like the DIPs undoubtedly will be found in other plant species, and they offer clues to more natural insect control agents."
Sarah Graham | Scientific American
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy