Source: Texas AgriLife News

Basic research on the biological signaling systems of plants could lead to "souped-up" plant immune systems, said Ping He, Ph.D., a Texas AgriLife Research scientist.

"Differential innate immune signalling via Ca2+ sensor protein kinases” was published Jan. 17 in Nature, a prominent scientific journal. The article describes a mechanism discovered by a collaborative team that includes Dr. He, with the Texas A&M University department of biochemistry and biophysics, and Libo Shan, Ph.D., Texas A&M department of plant pathology and microbiology.

It's long been known that both plants and animals react to microbials by first recognizing them as foreign, then launching cascades of immune responses to fend off the attack, Dr. He explained. Both kingdoms recognize the microbes by their molecular patterns, then use a very complex system of enzymes and intracellular processes to boost the natural immune response.

Original press release