Plant Protector Identified

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Science  05 Oct 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5847, pp. 13j
DOI: 10.1126/science.318.5847.13j

Plants that survive an initial pathogen attack often develop enhanced resistance to subsequent infections. For example, prior infection of tobacco plants by tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) exhibit enhanced resistance elsewhere in the plant to subsequent challenge by TMV or other pathogens, which is termed systemic acquired resistance (SAR). The development of SAR requires the movement of a signal made in the primary infected tissue through the phloem to the distal systemic tissue. Park et al. (p. 113; see the news story by Leslie) show that the mobile signal for SAR is a biologically inactive form of salicylic acid, methyl salicylate (MeSA), a key hormone for activating host defenses to many plant pathogens.

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