Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

News


Newly Discovered Receptors in Plants Help Them Recover from Environmental Changes, Pests, and Plant Wounds, MU Study Shows

January 22, 2014

Gary Stacey, an investigator in the MU Bond Life Sciences Center and professor of plant sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, found the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) receptor in plants and believes that it is a vital component in the way plants respond to dangers, including pests, environmental changes and plant wounds. This discovery could lead to herbicides, fertilizers and insect repellents that naturally work with plants to make them stronger.

Story by: MU News Bureau

ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the main energy source inside a cell and is considered to be the high energy molecule that drives all life processes in animals and humans. Outside the cell, membrane receptors that attract ATP drive muscle control, neurotransmission, inflammation and development.  Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found the same receptor in plants and believe it to be a vital component in the way plants respond to dangers, including pests, environmental changes and plant wounds. This discovery could lead to herbicides, fertilizers and insect repellants that naturally work with plants to make them stronger.

“Plants don’t have ears to hear, fingers to feel or eyes to see,” said Gary Stacey an investigator in the MU Bond Life Sciences Center and professor of plant sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. “Plants use these chemical signals to determine if they are being preyed upon or if an environmental change is occurring that could be detrimental to the plant. We have evidence that when ATP is outside of the cell it is probably a central signal that controls the plant’s ability to respond to a whole variety of stresses.” More…