3 years ago

Arabidopsis Leaf Trichomes as Acoustic Antennae

Arabidopsis Leaf Trichomes as Acoustic Antennae
Guy M. Genin, Shaobao Liu, Barbara G. Pickard, Jiaojiao Jiao, Feng Xu, Tian Jian Lu


The much studied plant Arabidopsis thaliana has been reported recently to react to the sounds of caterpillars of Pieris rapae chewing on its leaves by promoting synthesis of toxins that can deter herbivory. Identifying participating receptor cells—potential "ears"—of Arabidopsis is critical to understanding and harnessing this response. Motivated in part by other recent observations that Arabidopsis trichomes (hair cells) respond to mechanical stimuli such as pressing or brushing by initiating potential signaling factors in themselves and in the neighboring skirt of cells, we analyzed the vibrational responses of Arabidopsis trichomes to test the hypothesis that trichomes can respond acoustically to vibrations associated with feeding caterpillars. We found that these trichomes have vibrational modes in the frequency range of the sounds of feeding caterpillars, encouraging further experimentation to determine whether trichomes serve as mechanical antennae.

Publisher URL: http://www.cell.com/biophysj/fulltext/S0006-3495(17)30989-X

DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2017.07.035

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