Petunias spread their scent using pushy proteins | Science News


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Petunias spread their scent using pushy proteins

Molecules that move fragrance compounds out of cells may protect plants

2:00pm, June 29, 2017

SWEET SCENT  A protein called PhABCG1 moves scent compounds out of petunias’ cells, helping the flowers to smell sweet.

When it comes to smelling pretty, petunias are pretty pushy.

Instead of just letting scent compounds waft into the air, the plants use a particular molecule called a transporter protein to help move the compounds along, a new study found. The results, published June 30 in Science, could help researchers genetically engineer many kinds of plants both to attract pollinators and to repel pests and plant eaters.

“These researchers have been pursuing this transporter protein for a while,” says David Clark, an expert in horticultural biotechnology and genetics at the University of Florida in Gainesville. “Now they’ve got it. And the implications could be big.”

Plants use scents to communicate (SN: 7/27/02, p. 56). The scent compounds can attract insects and other organisms

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