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Front Plant Sci. 2014 Sep 3;5:446. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00446. eCollection 2014.

Extracellular ATP acts as a damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) signal in plants.

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Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University Pullman, WA, USA.
Division of Plant Sciences and Biochemistry, Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri Columbia, MO, USA.


As sessile organisms, plants have evolved effective mechanisms to protect themselves from environmental stresses. Damaged (i.e., wounded) plants recognize a variety of endogenous molecules as danger signals, referred to as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). ATP is among the molecules that are released by cell damage, and recent evidence suggests that ATP can serve as a DAMP. Although little studied in plants, extracellular ATP is well known for its signaling roles in animals, including acting as a DAMP during the inflammatory response and wound healing. If ATP acts outside the cell, then it is reasonable to expect that it is recognized by a plasma membrane-localized receptor. Recently, DORN1, a lectin receptor kinase, was shown to recognize extracellular ATP in Arabidopsis. DORN1 is the founding member of a new purinoceptor subfamily, P2K (P2 receptor kinase), which is plant-specific. P2K1 (DORN1) is required for ATP-induced cellular responses (e.g., cytosolic Ca(2+) elevation, MAPK phosphorylation, and gene expression). Genetic analysis of loss-of-function mutants and overexpression lines showed that P2K1 participates in the plant wound response, consistent with the role of ATP as a DAMP. In this review, we summarize past research on the roles and mechanisms of extracellular ATP signaling in plants, and discuss the direction of future research on extracellular ATP as a DAMP signal.


DAMPs; extracellular ATP; immune defense; symbiosis and immunity; wound healing

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