New Discovery of Protein in Plants Immune Systems Can Help Create Superior Crops Boost Agriculture (Download PDF)

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New Discovery of Protein in Plants Immune Systems Can Help Create Superior Crops Boost Agriculture

  • A new discovery related to plants՚ defense mechanisms against pathogens has the potential to pave the way healthier, more resistant, and productive crops.
  • Plants have unique ability to safeguard themselves against pathogens and resist infection in which a flood of calcium surrounds their pores or stomata, triggering them to close.
  • This was much known by the scientists, but it was unclear exactly how calcium would enter the plant cells.


  • An international team of scientists has claimed it to be the work of a protein called OSCA1.3 that formed a channel leaking calcium to the cells.
  • A known immune system protein triggered this process as well.
  • The stomata are encircled by two guard cells.
  • These guard cells respond to the calcium signals telling them, to either expand or contract, triggering innate immune signals and initiating the plants՚ defense response.
  • The calcium cannot directly pass through guard cell membranes, scientists knew there was a calcium channel, but did not know which protein acted to form one.
  • Researchers also searched for proteins that could be modified by another protein BIK1, which is a necessary component of the immune calcium response in plants.
  • The OSCA1.3 protein transformed very specifically when it was exposed to BIK1, suggesting it to be the calcium channel.
  • BIK1 was activated only when plants were infected by a pathogen, again suggesting that OSCA1.3 was responsible for creating the calcium channel that helps close plants՚ stomata.
  • This research will help in determining how calcium was appropriated through evolution by all living organisms as a signaling device for information about stressors ranging from infections to climate change.

- Published/Last Modified on: March 10, 2021

Science/Technology, Down-to-Earth

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