Document Detail

Plant biological warfare: thorns inject pathogenic bacteria into herbivores.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17298359     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Thorns, spines and prickles are among the rich arsenal of antiherbivore defence mechanisms that plants have evolved. Many of these thorns are aposematic, that is, marked by various types of warning coloration. This coloration was recently proposed to deter large herbivores. Yet, the mechanical defence provided by thorns against large herbivores might be only the tip of the iceberg in a much more complicated story. Here we present evidence that thorns harbour an array of pathogenic bacteria that are much more dangerous to herbivores than the painful mechanical wounding by the thorns. Pathogenic bacteria like Clostridium perfringens, the causative agent of the life-threatening gas gangrene, and others, were isolated and identified from date palm (with green-yellow-black aposematic spines) and common hawthorn (with red aposematic thorns). These thorn-inhabiting bacteria have a considerable potential role in antiherbivory, and may have uniquely contributed to the common evolution of aposematism (warning coloration) in thorny plants.
Malka Halpern; Dina Raats; Simcha Lev-Yadun
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental microbiology     Volume:  9     ISSN:  1462-2912     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ. Microbiol.     Publication Date:  2007 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-02-14     Completed Date:  2007-04-03     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100883692     Medline TA:  Environ Microbiol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  584-92     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and Science Education, University of Haifa - Oranim, Tivon 36006, Israel.
Data Bank Information
Bank Name/Acc. No.:
GENBANK/DQ298076;  DQ298077;  DQ298078;  DQ298079;  DQ298080;  DQ298081;  DQ298082;  DQ298083;  DQ298084;  DQ298085;  DQ298086;  DQ298087;  DQ298088;  DQ298089;  DQ298090;  DQ298091;  DQ298092;  DQ298093;  DQ298094;  DQ298095;  DQ298096;  DQ298097;  DQ298098;  DQ298099;  DQ298100;  DQ298101;  DQ298102;  DQ298103;  DQ298104;  DQ298105;  DQ298106;  DQ298107;  DQ298108;  DQ298109;  DQ298110;  DQ298111;  DQ298112;  DQ298113;  DQ298114;  DQ298115;  DQ298116;  DQ298117;  DQ298118;  DQ298119;  DQ298120;  DQ298121;  DQ298122;  DQ298123;  DQ298124;  DQ298125;  DQ298126;  DQ298127;  DQ298128;  DQ298129;  DQ298130;  DQ298131;  DQ298132
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MeSH Terms
Arecaceae / anatomy & histology,  microbiology*
Bacillus / classification,  isolation & purification,  pathogenicity
Bacteria / classification*,  isolation & purification,  pathogenicity*
Bacterial Infections / microbiology*
Clostridium perfringens / classification,  isolation & purification,  pathogenicity
DNA, Bacterial / analysis
Genes, rRNA
Molecular Sequence Data
Plant Poisoning*
Plant Stems / microbiology*
RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
Rosaceae / anatomy & histology,  microbiology*
Sequence Analysis, DNA
Reg. No./Substance:
0/DNA, Bacterial; 0/RNA, Ribosomal, 16S

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