Plant scientists have found the gene that sends signal through plant immune systems to produce chemical compounds (salicylic acid) which defends the plants from disease, saying, in effect: “Take two aspirin and call out the troops we are under attacks!”
Discovery of salicylic acid-binding protein 2 (SABP2) gene by plant researchers at Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research (BTI), of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York is being looked as an important step towards new strategies to boost plant immune system against certain insects and pathogens and thus reducing the need for potential agricultural pesticides.
When plants are attack by an insect or disease, chemical compound (salicylic acid) becomes active. Salicylic acid defends the plant from that disease or makes it less palatable to insects. Salicylic acid occurs naturally within many plants as well as in the most used drug aspirin (Acetylsalicylic acid). According to a report, the aspirin-like hormone is perceived by the SABP2 protein and a message is transmitted, via lipid-base signal, to activate the plants defense arsenal. This according to researchers is a key signaling protein in plant immune system and can help them to fight plant diseases without use of harmful pesticides.
Researchers further believe that salicylic acid binding protein 2 (SABP2) plays a critical role in systematic acquired resistance (SAR) in which a pathogenic attack on one part of the plant induces resistance in other parts. Salicylic acid is also involved in endogenous signaling, mediating in plant defense against pathogens. These signals can also be passed on to nearby plants by salicylic acid being converted into volatile ester, methyl salicylate.
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