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The Venus flytrap Dionaea muscipula counts prey-induced action potentials to induce sodium uptake


Bohm, J and Scherzer, S and Krol, E and Kreuzer, I and von Meyer, K and Lorey, C and Mueller, TD and Shabala, L and Monte, I and Solano, R and Al-Rasheid, KAS and Rennenberg, H and Shabala, S and Neher, E and Hedrich, R, The Venus flytrap Dionaea muscipula counts prey-induced action potentials to induce sodium uptake, Current Biology, 26, (3) pp. 286-295. ISSN 0960-9822 (2016) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.11.057


Carnivorous plants, such as the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula), depend on an animal diet when grown in nutrient-poor soils. When an insect visits the trap and tilts the mechanosensors on the inner surface, action potentials (APs) are fired. After a moving object elicits two APs, the trap snaps shut, encaging the victim. Panicking preys repeatedly touch the trigger hairs over the subsequent hours, leading to a hermetically closed trap, which via the gland-based endocrine system is flooded by a prey-decomposing acidic enzyme cocktail. Here, we asked the question as to how many times trigger hairs have to be stimulated (e.g., now many APs are required) for the flytrap to recognize an encaged object as potential food, thus making it worthwhile activating the glands. By applying a series of trigger-hair stimulations, we found that the touch hormone jasmonic acid (JA) signaling pathway is activated after the second stimulus, while more than three APs are required to trigger an expression of genes encoding prey-degrading hydrolases, and that this expression is proportional to the number of mechanical stimulations. A decomposing animal contains a sodium load, and we have found that these sodium ions enter the capture organ via glands. We identified a flytrap sodium channel DmHKT1 as responsible for this sodium acquisition, with the number of transcripts expressed being dependent on the number of mechano-electric stimulations. Hence, the number of APs a victim triggers while trying to break out of the trap identifies the moving prey as a struggling Na+-rich animal and nutrition for the plant.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:sodium channel, HKT1, Dionaea muscipula, action potential, glands, sodium uptake
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Plant physiology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Bohm, J (Ms Jennifer Bohm)
UTAS Author:Shabala, L (Associate Professor Lana Shabala)
UTAS Author:Shabala, S (Professor Sergey Shabala)
UTAS Author:Hedrich, R (Professor Rainer Hedrich)
ID Code:107576
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:93
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2016-03-18
Last Modified:2017-10-31
Downloads:187 View Download Statistics

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