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Phytohormone Mimics for the Study of Striga

 Striga is a parasitic plant called “witchweed” that has been significantly reducing the amount of grains yield especially in Africa.1) Striga germinates by detecting strigolactone, a plant hormone produced from a host plant but the strigolactone receptor had not been identified and the detailed mechanism had not been revealed. Then Hagiwara et al. developed Yoshimulactone Green (YLG, 1),2) a fluorescent agonist which act on strigolactone receptor. 1 binds to a protein ShHTL which is a strigolactone receptor, and strong green fluorescent products are generated after being hydrolyzed by ShHTL.
 Tsuchiya et al. established an assay to measure IC50 of YLG against ShHTL, and they explored and screened compounds which strongly binds to ShHTL. Finally they discovered Sphynolactone-7 (SPL7, 2), a strigolactone mimic which binds very strongly to ShHTL7, and they found that it can force Striga to germinate and wither in soil without the host plant as a nutrient source.3) The activity of SPL7 against Striga germination is extremely high compared with other existing strigolactone analogs like GR24,4) but SPL7 binds specifically to the strigolactone receptor of Striga. Furthermore, SPL7’s bioactivity as other plants’ hormone is very weak. So it is expected to be used as a revolutionary control method against Striga.


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