The content discusses how plants use signaling pathways to manage iron deficiency without helping harmful bacteria thrive. The findings were published in the journal Nature on January 10, 2024. Scientists discovered that plants are willing to stop acquiring iron and stop growing when threatened by harmful bacteria. This behavior suggests that iron availability and deficiency signaling help coordinate the plant immune response. The researchers used a small model plant called Arabidopsis thaliana to study this relationship between plant health, iron levels, and bacterial threat. The study found that plants eliminate a molecular signal for iron deficiency in response to bacterial presence in low-iron environments. This response makes plant leaves more resistant to bacterial attack. The researchers believe that this discovery may be useful in optimizing plant immunity, especially as the climate changes and diseases evolve more rapidly. They will explore whether targeting the molecular signal for iron deficiency can change plant resistance to disease, and how individual cells in plant roots shut down this molecular signal. The research received support from various institutions and foundations including the National Institutes of Health and the European Union.

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