The researchers, led by Professor Vernonica Franklin-Tong, have found that the poppy use a common 'enzyme switch', phosphorylation, as one of its key weapons to prevent self-pollination. The work is a significant step in understanding a key mechanism in plant biology and could provide a major boost for plant breeders.
Most flowering plants run the risk of pollinating themselves, rather than receiving pollen from another plant via an insect. The basic anatomy of many plants means pollen sacs are situated right next to the female reproductive parts. Accidental self-fertilization is a real risk. When a flowering plant is pollinated the pollen germinates and develops a pollen tube which grows through the stigma and female tissues and then enters the plant's ovary to effect fertilization. The Birmingham team, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), has found that when genetically identical pollen comes into contact with the field poppy's stigma, it triggers several chemical signals for inhibiting growth of the pollen tube. With tube growth halted fertilization cannot take place.
By adding phosphate to key enzymes involved in pollen tube development the plant effectively stops the pollen tube from growing, explains Professor Franklin-Tong at the University's School of Biosciences.
"Most plants require pollen from another plant to successfully pollinate. Accidental self-pollination would lead to unhealthy and less successful offspring. To avoid this plants need robust ways to stop self-pollinating activity," says Franklin-Tong.
"Our research has found that the field poppy has developed a particularly successful way of doing this. Pollen tubes require high metabolic activity, so inhibiting a key enzyme involved in driving these "high metabolism" processes is a very successful way of stopping pollen tube growth."
A better understanding of plant mechanisms against self-pollination could improve plant breeding. The possibility of selectively switching the self-pollination control on or off could make it much easier and cheaper to produce hybrid plants and seed.
Professor Franklin-Tong comments: "At the moment plant breeders must use expensive and time-consuming manual techniques to ensure new strains of plants do not self-pollinate. This is to ensure the traits they want come from both parent plants. If we could switch on the mechanism to guard against self-pollination we could drastically reduce the cost and time of developing new plant varieties."
Press Office | alfa
Alkaline soil, sensible sensor
03.08.2017 | American Society of Agronomy
New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences