Molecular insights into a mechano sensory organ2017-08-07
Title: Molecular insights into a mechano sensory organ
Speaker: Prof. Rainer Hedrich, University of Würzburg, Germany
Time: 10:00 am
Date: Thursday/August 10th, 2017
Host PI: Prof. Heng Zhang
Venue: PSC auditorium
The response of the carnivorous plant Dionaea muscipula to mechanical stimulation has captured the imagination of scientist early on. Insects attracted by the odour of the flytrap and exploring the inner trap lobe accidentally displace sensory trigger hairs causing firing of individual action potentials (APs). Trigger hair stimulation is only recognized as potential food when a moving object elicits two APs: Excitation–contraction of the capture organ by the second AP trigger results in local turgor changes and immediate buckling of the trap’s two lobes into a cage. Excitation–contraction coupling during fast trap closure relies on molecular mechanisms operated by the trigger hair.
To address the nature and electro-biology of Dionaea´s mechano-sensory organ, we have isolated multicellular trigger hairs from the flytrap and identified their transcriptomic profile focusing on genes with pronounced differential expression in the multicellular mechano sensor. In addition to gene clusters required for housekeeping functions, we identified transcripts associated with mechano-sensation and ion transport. Bioinformatics analyses identified trigger hair expressed channel types likely associated with peculiar features of the action potential originating in the mechano sensor.