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Wound induced electrical signals in Arabidopsis thaliana (WOUND IN EARTH)
Start date: May 1, 2012, End date: Jul 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Electrical phenomena in plants were first documented in the 1800s, yet progress in this area has been slow. There is evidence that most plants produce electrical signals that travel long distances within the plant. This electrical activity is triggered by biotic and abiotic stimuli, supporting the notion that excitability is a robust biological trait in plants. Major objectives of this project are to characterize waveform parameters (e.g. duration, amplitude) as well as dynamic parameters (e.g. velocity) of electrical signals induced by wounding in Arabidopsis thaliana. To this end, we will develop a technique that uses aphid stylets severed from feeding aphids with a highly focused radio-frequency pulse. With this approach we will register single electrical signals that travel along the phloem, a major site of electrical activity. These intracellular recordings will be paired with surface recordings obtained simultaneously for the same signals. Wounds will be inflicted with a collimated laser beam, an approach that does not mechanically disturb the plant and is therefore suitable for electrophysiology, while allowing controlling location and size of the wound. Laser wounding induces an electrical signal similar in waveform and duration to that induced by mechanical wounding (crushing). Both wounding methods dramatically increase expression of JAZ10, a jasmonate response gene that is commonly used as a marker of the wound response. The wound-induced electrical signal will be also investigated in loss-of-function mutant plants that either do not produce the jasmonate response (aos mutant) or that do not respond to jasmonate (coi1-1 mutant). Whether aphid infestation remodels the wound-induced electrical signal will also be tested. This is an interdisciplinary project that brings together an expert in the plant's wound response and an expert in animal electrophysiology, to create new knowledge in a neglected area of Biology."
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