Biologists unlocking the secrets of plant defenses
The National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Energy, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation funded the work featured in the recent paper.
Melotto said understanding jasmonate signaling at the molecular level is also vital because some plant pathogens, such as Pseudomonas syringae, have developed ways to mimic the hormone’s action in the cell. This gives them the ability to aggressively colonize plants without activating natural defense mechanisms, she said.
Melotto, who is currently receiving National Institutes of Health funding to examine plant defenses, said the next step in her jasmonate research is to determine which domain of the JAZ protein is responsible for plant innate immunity.
“This is one way to have sustainable agriculture,” Melotto said of the research. “By increasing genetic resistance we could reduce the use of pesticides, decrease crop production costs and promote environmentally friendly farming practices.”
Melotto’s work with Michigan State University is an example of the collaborative research going on at UT Arlington, a comprehensive research institution of more than 33,200 students and more than 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.