What is it about?

Glyphosate is the world's most widely used herbicide and is very important for agriculture/food productivity. However, major crop weeds are evolving resistance to glyphosate, threatening food productivity. This is occurring in the global problem weed Echinochloa, known as Barnyard grass. This research found a unique resistance mechanism responsible for glyphosate resistance in an Australian Echinochloa population. Glyphosate enters the plant and plant cells as normal but is then pumped back out of plant cells due to over-expression of an ABC transporter pump on plant cell membranes. This pump gives the plants resistance to glyphosate.

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Why is it important?

In human cancer ABC transporters are well known to be able to pump anti-cancer drugs out of cells, thereby endowing resistance. This ABC transporter identified in plants is very similar to the ABC transporter in human cancer cells.


This article gives great pleasure as it involves a very fruitful and long term collaboration between Australia and China, as well as a collaborator in the Ukraine. This collaboration led to this discovery of a previously unknown biochemical mechanism by which plants can resist herbicides.

stephen Powles
University of Western Australia

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: An ABCC-type transporter endowing glyphosate resistance in plants, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2100136118.
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