Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Antagonistic genes control rice growth

17.12.2009
Scientists at the Carnegie Institution, with colleagues,* have found that a plant steroid prompts two genes to battle each other—one suppresses the other to ensure that leaves grow normally in rice and the experimental plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a relative of mustard. The results, published in the December 15, 2009, issue of The Plant Cell, have important implications for understanding how to manipulate crop growth and yield.

In plants, steroid levels reflect environmental and internal signals and control many processes. Steroid hormones called brassinosteroids (BRs) start their action on the surface of the cell and, through a molecular relay, send signals into the cell's nucleus to turn on or off specific genes, particularly those that are critical to regulating plant growth and development. Although a lot has been discovered about how the steroid affects genes in Arabidopsis, much less was known in crop plants such as rice.

Co-author Zhi-Yong Wang at Carnegie's Department of Plant Biology explained the work: "We knew that the steroid is very important for activating genes that control cell growth in Arabidopsis as well as in rice. One of the most sensitive responses to the steroid is leaf bending in rice, caused by expansion of the upper cells at the joint between leaf blade and leaf sheath. We wanted to determine how the steroid functioned in rice. We found that the steroid affects two genes encoding (or producing) proteins that turn other genes on or off; they are called transcription factors. In rice, when a gene called Increased Leaf Inclination1 (ILI1) is turned on, it causes leaf bending. Interestingly, we found that the ILI1 protein also binds to another transcription factor, called IBH1, and inhibits its function. When there is too much ILI1 protein, the leaves bend excessively making the plant shaggy. When IBH1 level is high, cell growth is stopped at the joint and the rice is very erect, taking up less space. In normal rice plants the balance between ILI1 and IBH1 keeps growth in check."

This pair of genes provides a unique tool to control the leaf angle, which is important for crop yield because erect leaves improve light capture and allows rice plants to be planted at higher density for a higher yield per hectare.

Through a series of experiments, the researchers determined how the steroid and genes interact. They found that brassinosteroid oppositely regulate these genes—ILI1 was activated and IBH1 was repressed. As such, the steroid tips the balance between their protein products, ILI1 and IBH1, to initiate cell growth.

"It appears that the steroid causes the IBH1 genes to stop the production of IBH1 protein, and in the meantime increases the production of the ILI1 protein, which turns off IBH1's inhibition of cell growth. This ensures that the cell grows to just the right length according to the level of steroid," commented Wang.

The researchers performed similar experiments on the mustard, which showed that steroid interacted with the mustard genes the same way. "Since similar genes are doing the same thing in these different plants, this process is likely to be very old and found in many different higher plants. The more we learn about such mechanisms, the closer we will come to better engineering crops to feed a growing population," concluded Wang.

The work was supported by the National Science Foundation of China; The National Institute of Health; the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan; and the Carnegie Institution.

*Colleagues on the study are from the following institutions: Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences; Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution; Yonsei University, Korea; RIKEN Advanced Science Institute, Japan.

The Carnegie Institution for Science (www.CIW.edu) has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research since 1902. It is a private, nonprofit organization with six research departments throughout the U.S. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.

Zhi-Yong Wang | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ciw.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>