What Makes Plants Electrically Excitable
In humans, only nerves and muscle cells are electrically excitable, whereas in plants almost all cells are. This is due to a sophisticated mechanism in an ion channel of the vacuole. Plant cells use electrical signals to process and transmit information. In 1987, as a postdoc of Erwin Neher in Göttingen, biophysicist Rainer Hedrich discovered an ion channel in the central vacuole of the plant cell, which is activated by calcium and electrical voltage, using the patch-clamp technique (Nobel Prize for Neher and Sakmann 1991).