Editors' ChoicePlant biology

Bring on the Defenses

Science's STKE  18 Jul 2000:
Vol. 2000, Issue 41, pp. tw4
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2000.41.tw4

When plants are subjected to stress, they bring out their chemical arsenal of secondary metabolites, which are often harvested for their incidental value as pharmaceuticals, flavors, dyes, and insecticides. This biosynthetic response is mediated in part by (methyl)jasmonate, a plant hormone produced in response to stress. Van der Fits and Memelink have now identified a transcription factor, ORCA3, which is regulated by (methyl)jasmonate and, in turn, regulates several genes in both primary and secondary metabolic pathways. Analysis of this gene leads to insights into how plants bring their chemical defense responses online without destructively disrupting their primary metabolic pathways, as well as into ways to produce secondary metabolites in vitro.

Van der Fits, L. and Johan Memelink, J. (2000) ORCA3, a jasmonate-responsive transcriptional regulator of plant primary and secondary metabolism. Science 289: 295-297. [Abstract] [Full Text]