The Touchy Business of Systemic signaling in Plants

Plant Biology

Simon Gilroy, University of Wisconsin, Madison

October 23, 2023 @ 12:10 pm to 01:10 pm

108 Wartik Laboratory
University Park

Preview image for The Touchy Business of Systemic signaling in Plants

Invited and Hosted by Plant Biology Graduate Students

Research Summary:

Plants lack the luxury of getting up and leaving when conditions turn bad. They are literally rooted to the spot and so have evolved remarkably sensitive systems that respond to the many and varied challenges they face. For example, local plant defenses against a caterpillar chewing on a leaf can be triggered within seconds and then, after just a few minutes, signals have moved throughout the plant to elicit preemptive defenses in undamaged leaves. We have been able to visualize Ca2+ signals triggered by such wounding that move through the plant over seconds to minutes, allowing us to define some of the molecular components that support these changes. Key players include the glutamate receptor-like and CNGC family of ion channels. These signals are themselves modulated by touch stimulation of the plant and dissecting this interaction has revealed an unexpected split in the oxylipin-regulated systems that integrate both growth and defense.

About the Speaker:

Simon Gilroy is a cell biologist whose research centers on dissecting the molecular component of plant signaling systems. He studied plant signal transduction for his PhD at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, focusing on the dynamics of Ca2+-dependent networks and developing fluorescent imaging tools to visualize these processes. After postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley investigating hormonal signaling during seed germination, he moved to a faculty position at PennState before becoming a professor in the Department of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research team continues to study plant signal transduction systems, with current work characterizing responses to stimuli such as wounding, touch, cold and flooding. He also works closely with NASA on projects related to understanding plant growth and development in the alien environment of spaceflight.


Robert Witkowski