News Release

How a molecular alarm system in plants protects them from danger

Scientists show, at the molecular level, how oral secretions of the cotton leaf worm can trigger defense responses in a plant

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Tokyo University of Science

Molecular Alarm System in Plants

video: Scientists in Japan have uncovered the molecular pathway that helps some plants to sense danger signals and respond to them view more 

Credit: Tokyo University of Science

Every species in nature is equipped with a strategy to survive in response to danger. Plants, too, have innate systems that are triggered in response to threats, such as insects feeding on them. For example, some plants can recognize "herbivore danger signals" (HDS), which are specific chemicals in oral secretions of insects. This activates a cascade of events in the plant's physiological defense machinery, which leads to the plant developing "immunity" against the predator. However, despite considerable research, exactly how plants recognize these signals has remained a bit of a mystery. In a new study, a team of scientists from Tokyo University of Science, led by Prof Gen-ichiro Arimura, attempts to shed light on exactly how plant HDS systems work.



Title of original paper: Soy and Arabidopsis receptor-like kinases respond to polysaccharide signals from Spodoptera species and mediate herbivore resistance

Journal: Communications Biology

DOI: 10.1038/s42003-020-0959-4

About The Tokyo University of Science

Tokyo University of Science (TUS) is a well-known and respected university, and the largest science-specialized private research university in Japan, with four campuses in central Tokyo and its suburbs and in Hokkaido. Established in 1881, the university has continually contributed to Japan's development in science through inculcating the love for science in researchers, technicians, and educators.

With a mission of "Creating science and technology for the harmonious development of nature, human beings, and society", TUS has undertaken a wide range of research from basic to applied science. TUS has embraced a multidisciplinary approach to research and undertaken intensive study in some of today's most vital fields. TUS is a meritocracy where the best in science is recognized and nurtured. It is the only private university in Japan that has produced a Nobel Prize winner and the only private university in Asia to produce Nobel Prize winners within the natural sciences field.


About Professor Gen-ichiro Arimura from Tokyo University of Science (TUS)

Dr Gen-ichiro Arimura is a Professor in the Faculty of Industrial Science and Technology, Department of Biological Science and Technology at TUS, Japan. He completed his graduation at the Hiroshima University Graduate School, after which he worked in the field of plant biology for several years before moving to TUS in 2013. A senior and well-respected researcher, he has more than 110 publications to his credit. His key research interests include plant biotechnology, ecology, and biochemistry.

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