A revolutionary plant immunity enhancer that prevents pathogenic infection

September 18, 2018

An answer that addresses the tradeoff between growth and defense

The plant hormone isoleucine jasmonate (JA-Ile) plays a deep role in the interactions between plants and attacking enemies. Although JA-Ile induces tolerance of phytopathogenic bacterial infections and the strengthening of insect pest resistance (plant immunity), the plant must pay for this protection with suppressed growth. This growth-defense tradeoff has greatly restricted agricultural applications of JA-Ile. The reason why JA-Ile simultaneously enhances plant immunity and inhibits growth is due to unique COI1-JAZ co-receptors that integrate control of these signal transductions, in which JA-Ile binds not only to JAZ-COI1 combinations that confer bacterial infection tolerance, but also to JAZ-COI1 combinations involved in growth suppression.

By fine-tuning a chemical structure based on a stereoisomer of coronatine (a naturally occurring organic compound), researchers from Tohoku University, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research and Center for Sustainable Resource Science succeeded in creating an agonist biased for plant hormone receptors that selectively activate pathogen resistance without inducing growth suppression. This unique methodology works by delicately changing the stereoscopic shape of coronatine to control selectivity for JAZ.

This result is expected to lead to the development of a revolutionary plant immunity activator that enhances plant resistance to pathogenic bacterial infections.

Original article
Nature Communications doi:10.1038/s41467-018-06135-y
Y. Takaoka, M. Iwahashi, A. Chini, H. Saito, Y. Ishimaru, S. Egoshi, N. Kato, M. Tanaka, K. Bashir, M. Seki, R. Solano, M. Ueda,
"A rationally designed JAZ subtype-selective agonist of jasmonate perception".
Motoaki Seki
Team Leader
Plant Genomic Network Research Team