The mechanism that enables plant grafting is revealed

August 7, 2020

Tobacco plants can be grafted onto plants of various species

A joint group of researchers from Nagoya University, Teikyo University, RIKEN CSRS and BioResource Research Center, Chubu University, and GRA & GREEN Inc. has found that grafting of plants, which had been understood to work only among those in the same family, works between Nicotiana plants and plants in other families.

Grafting is a long-established agricultural technique and has been widely used in fruit and vegetable cultivation. Living tissue is formed by strong cell-to-cell adhesion. While it had been understood that grafting must be performed between closely related species to ensure compatibility in tissue adhesion, the mechanism remained unknown.

The research group found that plants of the genus Nicotiana of the family Solanaceae can be grafted with various plants that are distantly related. Transcription products were compared in plants to which Nicotiana plants were grafted, and it was found that β-1,4-glucanase secreted into the extracellular region was involved in cell wall reconstruction near the graft interface. Adhesiveness of grafted plants was shown to increase when β-1,4-glucanase was overexpressed. The study also indicated that tomato and other agricultural products could potentially be produced on rootstocks of species with good root systems by using Nicotiana plants as an intersection.

Original article
Science doi:10.1126/science.abc3710
M. Notaguchi, K. Kurotani, Y. Sato, R. Tabata, Y. Kawakatsu, K. Okayasu, Yu Sawai, R. Okada, M. Asahina, Y. Ichihashi, K. Shirasu, T. Suzuki, M. Niwa, T. Higashiyama,
"Cell-cell adhesion in plant grafting is facilitated by β-1,4-glucanases".
Ken Shirasu
Group Director
Plant Immunity Research Group