Scientists have found a signal in plants which may act as a drought alarm, allowing them to adapt to drought conditions. The signal was discovered while trying to understand how different parts of the cell communicate with each other under drought conditions in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a relative of canola.
Inside every animal and plant cell there are a series of connected pathways, like the production lines of a factory. For it to work efficiently, each department must be able to communicate product shortages, adverse conditions or breakdowns.
For some time, scientists have proposed that chemical signals must be sent by a particular “plant department”, or organelle, to the nucleus (the cell’s control centre) for plants to become aware of, and adapt to, harsh conditions.
Dr Gonzalo Estavillo, Professor Barry Pogson, ARC Centre for Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, Research School of Biology, ANU