MAR 25, 2016 2:04 PM PDT

Plant and Human Cellular Similarity - Raising the Alarm for An Immune Attack

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Although plants and humans are plagued by different types of infections, a new study from the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research has identified two very similar molecules from each organism that activate the immune response during a pathogenic invasion.

The newly discovered damage-associated molecular pattern molecule (DAMP) is known as HMGB3 in plants and HMGB1 in humans. These DAMPs are released by injured cells in both organisms to trigger an immune response. Cells release DAMPs like HMGB3 and HMGB1 to communicate the status of the injury with surrounding tissues, further promoting healing and protection against infection.
 
Arabidopsis plants (left) and gray mold (grown in a petri dish on the right) used to investigate the damage-signalling function of HMGB3.


The current study stems from findings in a previous study, where they saw salicylic acid blocking the activity of HMGB1 in humans, and soon after they found HMGB3 in the plant model system Arabidopsis. Current experiments uncovered HMGB3 potential with observations of plant and animal proteins and their interactions with salicylic acid, a plant immune regulator and main breakdown product of aspirin.

After discovering HMGB3 in Arabidopsis, the researchers compared its activity without DAMPs already known to activate the immune response. They measured HMGB3’s ability to help in the fight against gray mold infection, and found that the protein activates a signaling cascade that activates genes involved in the plant immune response. HMGB3 also instigates the deposition of a plant polysaccharide called callose, which provides a protective thickening of the walls.

"The identification of salicylic acid's shared targets and mechanisms of action in plants and animals enable us to translate what has been learned in one system to the other,” said Daniel Klessig, PhD.

The study was published recently in PLOS Pathogens.
 

Source: Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
AUG 06, 2019
Microbiology
AUG 06, 2019
Lab Mice Born to Moms From the Wild Make Better Research Models
A standard research mouse genotype was preserved while generating a natural microbiome by using wild mice as surrogates....
SEP 16, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
SEP 16, 2019
Stem Cell Derived Natural Killer T Cells as Novel and Long-term Cancer Treatment
Hematopoietic stem cells are used to create a population of Natural Killer T-cells that could sustain and renew within the immune system, and attack cancer cells....
OCT 17, 2019
Health & Medicine
OCT 17, 2019
STDs Still on the Rise in U.S.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report, the details of which...
NOV 17, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
NOV 17, 2019
Scientists Reveal a Link Between Brain Fog and Inflammation
When people get sick, they often also feel tired, which can be as troublesome as their disease....
DEC 04, 2019
Neuroscience
DEC 04, 2019
Antibiotic Usage May Cause Parkinson's, Study Finds
A study from Helsinki University Hospital, Finland suggests that excessive usage of certain antibiotics may increase one’s risk of developing Parkins...
FEB 01, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
FEB 01, 2020
Immunity in the Gut Ramps Up Around Mealtimes
Scientists have found that our immune system benefits when we eat regular meals....
Loading Comments...