Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Novel Electric Signals In Plants Induced By Wounding Plant

Date:
March 10, 2009
Source:
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a new form of electrical signaling in different plant species. This electrical signal -- called "system potential" -- is induced by wounding of the plant tissue and then passed from leaf to leaf.

Electrodes are inserted through stomata (small pores in the leaf surface regulating evaporation and gas exchange; dark green) into the inner leaf tissue. This way, electrical processes can be measured.
Credit: Drawing: Justus Liebig University, H. Felle

Scientists at the Justus Liebig University of Gieίen and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena discovered a new form of electrical signaling in different plant species. This electrical signal -- called "system potential" -- is induced by wounding of the plant tissue and then passed from leaf to leaf.

Related Articles


Using ion-selective micro-electrodes electrical signals in plants moving from leaf to leaf could be measured. The speed of the signals spreading as voltage changes over cell membranes ranged from 5 to 10 cm per minute.

The scientists discovered this new kind of electrical signal transmission system by applying a novel method: Filamentary electrodes were inserted through open stomata directly into the inner leaf tissue and then placed onto the cell walls (see picture). Stomata are microscopically small openings in the leaf surface which plants facilitate regulating evaporation and gas exchange.

The scientists found out that the new electrical signal they called "system potential" was induced and even modulated by wounding. If a plant leaf is wounded, the signal strength can be different and can be measured over long distances in unwounded leaves, depending on the kind and concentration of added cations (e.g. calcium, potassium, or magnesium). It is not the transport of ions across cell membranes that causes the observed changes in voltage transmitted from leaf to shoot and then to the next leaf, but the activation of so-called proton pumps.

"This is the reason why the "system potential" we measured cannot at all be compared to the classic action potential as present in nerves of animals and also in plants", says Hubert Felle from Gieίen University. Action potentials follow all-or-none characteristics: they are activated if a certain stimulus threshold is reached and then spread constantly. The "system potential", however, can carry different information at the same time: The strength of the inducing stimulus (wound signal) can influence the amplitude of the systemic signal as well as the effect of different ions.

"We may be on the trail of an important signal transmission system that is induced by insect herbivory. Within minutes the whole plant is alerted and the plant's defense against its enemy is activated", says Axel Mithφfer from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena.

The novel "system potential" was detected in five different plant species, among them agricultural crops like tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), maize (Zea mays), barley (Hordeum vulgare), and field bean (Vicia faba).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Zimmermann et al. System Potentials, a Novel Electrical Long-Distance Apoplastic Signal in Plants, Induced by Wounding. Plant Physiology, 2009; 149 (3): 1593 DOI: 10.1104/pp.108.133884

Cite This Page:

Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. "Novel Electric Signals In Plants Induced By Wounding Plant." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090309105030.htm>.
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. (2009, March 10). Novel Electric Signals In Plants Induced By Wounding Plant. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090309105030.htm
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. "Novel Electric Signals In Plants Induced By Wounding Plant." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090309105030.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — Industrious 3D printed bionic ants working together could toil in the factories of the future, says German technology company Festo. The robotic insects cooperate and coordinate their actions and movements to achieve a common aim. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Captive-Born Panda Triplets Are Eight Months Old

Captive-Born Panda Triplets Are Eight Months Old

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The world&apos;s only surviving captivity-born panda triplets turn eight months old, according to China’s state media. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lions Make Surprise Comeback in Gabon

Lions Make Surprise Comeback in Gabon

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) — Lions have made a comeback in southeast Gabon, after disappearing for years, according to live footage from US wildlife organisation Panthera. Duration: 00:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ancient Egyptian Beer Making Vessels Discovered in Israel

Ancient Egyptian Beer Making Vessels Discovered in Israel

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) — Fragments of pottery used by Egyptians to make beer and dating back 5,000 years have been discovered on a building site in Tel Aviv, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said on Sunday. Duration: 00:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins