In a paper published Nov. 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team led by scientists at the University of Washington and the University of California, San Diego reports that cowpeas — a type of bean plant — harbor receptors on the surface of their cells that can detect a compound in caterpillar saliva and initiate anti-herbivore defenses. UW Biology assistant professor Adam Steinbrenner is the lead author on this paper.
“Despite chemical controls, crop yield losses to pests and disease generally range from 20-30% worldwide. Yet many varieties are naturally resistant or immune to specific pests,” said lead author Adam Steinbrenner, a UW assistant professor of biology. “Our findings are the first to identify an immune recognition mechanism that sounds the alarm against chewing insects.”
Read the full article in UW News.