Plant Biology
Plant Biology
To match human population growth, world agricultural production must double over the next quarter century. At Salk, we study plants so that humans will have the food, clothing, energy and medicines they need now and in the future.

Iron influences plant immunity and may promote resiliency against climate change

Plants and animals alike rely on iron for growth and regulation of microbiomes—collections of bacteria, fungi, and more that coexist in places like the human gut or the soil around a plant’s roots. Plants face a special challenge when acquiring iron, since the strategies plants use to increase iron availability alter the root microbiome and can inadvertently benefit harmful soil-dwelling bacteria. Professor Wolfgang Busch, first author Min Cao, and colleagues have discovered how plants manage iron deficiency without helping “bad” bacteria thrive—by eliminating IMA1, the molecular signal for iron deficiency in roots at risk of bacterial attack. Additionally, they found that this iron deficiency signaling pathway and the plant immune system are deeply intertwined.

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