The secret of plant regeneration revealed

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-12 20:04:59|Editor: Liangyu
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SHANGHAI, May 12 (Xinhua) -- No pain no gain, which is the reality of people's lives, is also true for plant growth. According to a recent Chinese study published in the journal Nature Plants, scientists have found the mechanism of how the wounds in plants trigger regeneration.

After being cut down, many plants can regenerate a new, complete plant from a shoot segment or a single leaf.

Scientists believe the phenomenon shows that it is the wounds that induce plant regeneration. However, the molecular basis behind the phenomenon has been unclear.

Researchers from the Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, chose Arabidopsis thaliana, a small flowering plant native to Eurasia and Africa, to study its wound signaling.

According to lead researcher Xu Lin, a wound can be seen as a "double-edged sword" for the plant. On the one hand, the wound may cause fatal damage, while on the other hand, it can stimulate the will of the living body to continue to survive.

"Therefore, in order to resist the wound damage, plants will release a signal to stimulate the regeneration process," Xu said.

In the laboratory, researchers put the leaves of the model plant Arabidopsis on a clean moist medium. They found that a plant hormone jasmonate was produced inside the detached leaves after they were cut from the plant and a wound appeared. The jasmonate activated the synthesis of auxin and promoted the auxin accumulation in several hours.

Auxin is a plant growth regulator. In the study, the high concentration of auxin soon promoted the transformation of stem cells at the wound site into root cells that form new roots.

The result indicated that jasmonate served as a wound signal that responds rapidly to wounds, said Xu.

However, too much jasmonate was not good for plant growth and inhibited root regeneration. According to the study, two hours after the wound was created, the jasmonate disappeared from the leaves, shutting off the wound signal.

Plant regeneration was used in agriculture technology a long time ago, such as grafting, cuttage and tissue cultures, to accelerate plant reproduction while maintaining the quality of the original plant.

The understanding of the mechanism will help scientists find new ways to increase the efficiency of plant regeneration and further improve agriculture technology, said Xu.

Researchers from China's Nantong University, University of Georgia and other research institutions based in Shanghai also participated in the study.