Plants have an immune system just like us, yet works considerably different than ours. Plants have two types of receptors in their immune system. One senses the molecules outside the cell, the second one senses molecules inside the cell, both systems sense intruders and begin to activate defenses in the infected cell and neighboring cell. The “invaders” are unwanted pathogens. These systems are designed to limit colonization and trigger strong antimicrobial responses.
Over time plants have evolved to form R genes (resistance genes) that strongly protect plants from viruses, bacteria, and insect strains. Mechanisms plants use to protect themselves are present in their cell walls, the plant cuticle (surface), the R gene even allows them to breakdown pathogen derived toxins. Plant immune systems effectively recognize invaders and defensively respond through pathways in their genes.
Because plant resistance exists scientists are experimenting with genetic engineering. Plant disease resistance exists in virtually all types of plants, cultivated and domesticated, however it is so crucial because reliable food production depends on it. According to Britannica, genetic engineering is practiced in order to create new characteristics to these organisms.
The next time you look at your air purifying plant remember all the hard work it’s doing.
Encyclopedia Britannica, inc., 2020 April 1, Plant Disease.
Author: Genesis Sotomayor