Advice for journalist

Marc Knight Marc.Knight at plants.ox.ac.uk
Mon Oct 16 09:20:16 EST 1995


CRS at ANDREW.STANFORD.EDU ("Chris Somerville") wrote:
>GLOWING PLANTS - AMERICAN SCIENTIST. I need a quick comment
>on the viability of UK research into engineering a fluorescent
>jellyfish protein into plants to measure calcium flux and thus
>indicate stress levels due to infection in the plants. The
>researchers say they will have plants that glow visibly when
>stressed by 2000AD allowing  farmers to "see" whether their crops
>are okay.>>> David  Bradley E-mail: BRADLEYD1 at rsc.org Fax: +44
>1223 420247 Phone: +44 1223 420066 (10/12)

Yes, Of course it's viable.  This is the research we (myself and 
Professor Tony Trewavas in Edinburgh) have pioneered and have used 
successfully over the last 4 years.  A few key references are:

**********************************************************************
Knight, M. R., Campbell, A. K., Smith, S. M., Trewavas, A. J. (1991) 
Transgenic plant aequorin reports the effects of touch, cold-shock and 
elicitors on cytoplasmic calcium. Nature 352, 524-526.

Knight, M. R., Smith, S. M., Trewavas, A. J. (1992) Wind-induced plant 
motion immediately increases cytosolic calcium. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 
USA 89, 4967-4971.

Price, A., Taylor, A., Ripley, S., Griffiths, A., Trewavas, A. J., 
Knight, M.R. (1994) Oxidative stress in tobacco increases cytosolic 
calcium. The Plant Cell 6, 1301-1310

Haley, A., Russell, A.J., Wood, N., Allan, A.C., Knight, M.R., Campbell, 
A.K., Trewavas, A.J. (1995) The effects of mechanical signalling on plant 
cell cytosolic calcium. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 92, 4124-4128.

Johnson, C.H., Knight, M.R., Kondo, T., Masson, P., Sedbrook, J., Haley, 
A., Trewavas, A.J. (1995). Circadian oscillations in cytosolic and 
chloroplastic free calcium in transgenic luminous plants. Science 269, 
1863-1865.
***********************************************************************
We are now involved in producing plants with visible light from the 
calcium-dependent photoprotein aequorin.  We are using Arabidopsis and a 
range of crop plants (hence the press releases).  Our results and 
predictions suggest that we will be able to crack this problem within the 
next 5 years and achieve our aim for visibly glowing reporter crop 
plants, used for the diagnosis of stresses such as cold, heat, 
mechanical, wounding, polution and pathogens.  

Marc Knight
==== ======

(Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, UK)




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