Plant Mol Biol (2007) 65:709 DOI 10.1007/s11103-007-9254-8 OB ITU A R Y Claus Wasternack Published online: 2 November 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007 The plant community has lost one of its pioneer researchers. and their receptor(s). He was able to demonstrate their Clarence A. ‘‘Bud’’ Ryan died suddenly and unexpectedly on function in plant innate immunity. This tremendous success October 7th at age 76. For more than 40 years Bud was a in plant peptide research even after his retirement in 1999 member of the Institute of Biological Chemistry at the demonstrate that Bud remained fully engaged at the frontiers Washington State University in Pullman where he worked on of plant science research. His tireless pursuit of problems plant-herbivore interactions. In the early 1970s he discov- central to plant defense was exemplary but also characteristic ered that plants induce the synthesis of proteinase inhibitors of his dedication to excellent research. after herbivore attack. Proteinase inhibitors are natural With one of his last manuscripts published in this issue of insecticides that prevent digestion of plant material in the Plant Molecular Biology, Bud returned to his initial question insect gut. The accumulation of proteinase inhibitors in on systemic wound signaling. Using transgenic tomato lines leaves distant from the site of herbivore feeding let Bud to that ectopically express sense and antisense constructs of the postulate the existence of a chemical signal that moves tomato HypSys precursor or prosystemin, Bud could provide throughout the plant to activate expression of PIN genes. He proof that their expression in response to wounding is nec- pursued this signal for 20 years when in 1991 his persistence essary for systemic signaling. His paper shows for the ﬁrst paid off. Bud together with his senior technician Greg Pearce time that the two plant peptides cooperate in systemic wound isolated a short peptide from 2 kg tomato leaves, which they signaling. The results provide evidence that the peptides called systemin and which was the ﬁrst signaling peptide amplify both the local and systemic response through a isolated from plants. In addition to his pioneering work that feedback loop, which generates jasmonate that activates followed on the wound signaling cascade and isolation of the defense gene expression. Bud’s demonstration of the coop- systemin receptor, Bud was also interested in signaling erative action of two peptides upstream of jasmonate peptides in solanaceous species and other plant families. This signiﬁcantly sets another milestone in our knowledge of work led him to the discovery of hydroxyproline-rich gly- wound signaling mechanisms. The postulated role of jasm- copeptides (HypSys peptides) in tomato, petunia and onates in systemic wound signaling has now been elegantly tobacco. Similar to tomato systemin, all HypSys peptides demonstrated by Gregg Howe, one of Bud Ryan’s former turned out to be processed from a single polypeptide pre- post docs, who used tomato mutants affected in jasmonate cursor. Since the HypSys peptides differed from systemin in biosynthesis and signaling. sequence and signaling properties, Bud realized that there For the last two decades, Bud’s pioneering work has was considerable speciﬁcity in peptide signaling between opened an exciting new ﬁeld in plant research––peptide species. Later Bud discovered the rapid alkalization factors signaling. His work will continue in many laboratories (RALFs), which comprise a family of 5 kDa proteins. At the around the world, including the groups of his former post- age of 75, Bud identiﬁed the Arabidopsis systemin homologs docs such as C. Nelson (Des Moines, Iowa), E. Farmer (Lausanne, Switzerland), G. Howe (East Lansing, Michi- gan), J. Stratmann (Columbia, South Carolina), or A. C. Wasternack (&) Schaller (Stuttgart-Hohenheim, Germany). Bud has left us, Leibniz-Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Halle, Germany but his legacy will live on. e-mail: email@example.com
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 2, 2007
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