Scientists at Long Ashton Research Station have identified a gene with a pivotal role in regulating seed germination. According to an article published in the January issue of BBSRC business, the Arabidopsis COMATOSE (CTS) gene, is vital for breaking seed dormancy. It is also analogous to the human X-ALD gene, which featured in the 1992 film "Lorenzos oil". Treatment of cts mutants with a plant version of Lorenzos oil cures their inability to germinate.
The researchers were investigating the genetic control of germination, a key transition in the life of a plant. Once they had cloned the CTS gene, they realised that is analogous to the human adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) gene, mutation of which results in the build-up of very long chain fatty acids (VLCFAs) and ALD disease. Like human ALD sufferers, cts mutant seeds suffer from a variety of effects including inappropriate accumulation of VLCFAs. They are also unable to germinate. Lorenzo’s oil was developed by Augusto Odone for his son, who is an ALD sufferer, and was recently proven effective for the treatment of pre-symptomatic ALD patients. "We wondered whether Lorenzos oil would work for plants too" says team leader, Dr Mike Holdsworth. Sure enough, when he treated cts mutant seeds with a similar mixture of oils, the seeds became able to germinate.
The Long Ashton researchers believe that CTS protein is important as a fatty acid transporter, but may also have a key role as a regulator of germination. They are continuing to investigate CTS in Arabidopsis, but are also interested in crops such as wheat and oilseed rape, where dormancy levels are associated with quality and performance.
Dr Mike Holdsworth | alfa
Kakao in Monokultur verträgt Trockenheit besser als Kakao in Mischsystemen
18.09.2017 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Ultrasound sensors make forage harvesters more reliable
28.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy