Stem parasitic plant Cuscuta australis (dodder) transfers herbivory-induced signals among plants

Parasitic plants such as Cuscuta astralis (dodder) form connections with their host plants through which nutrients and other molecules pass. Using mutant plants and transcriptomic assays, Hettenhausen and Li et al. showed that two or more plants connected by Cuscuta bridges shared information through these bridges. Specifically, when one host plant was wounded or subjected to insect herbivory, another plant connected through the Cuscuta bridge showed rapid transcriptional responses. Information is likely to include both jasmonate and other components. This study shows that plant-to-plant information can be transmitted through parasitic plant networks. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA  10.1073/pnas.1704536114