Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Formula discovered for longer plant life

23.09.2008
Molecular biologists from Tuebingen have discovered how the growth of leaves and the aging process of plants are coordinated

Plants that grow more slowly stay fresh longer. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tuebingen have shown that certain small sections of genes, so-called microRNAs, coordinate growth and aging processes in plants.


Thale cress Arabidopsis thaliana
Photo: Juergen Berger/ Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology

These microRNAs inhibit certain regulators, known as TCP transcription factors. These transcription factors in turn influence the production of jasmonic acid, a plant hormone. The higher the number of microRNAs present, the lower the number of transcription factors that are active, and the smaller the amount of jasmonic acid, which is produced by the plant. The plant therefore ages more slowly, as this hormone is important for the plant's aging processes. Since the quantity of microRNAs in the plants can be controlled by genetic methods, it may be possible in future to cultivate plants that live longer and grow faster. (PLoS Biology, September 22, 2008)

MicroRNAs are short, single-strand sections of genes that regulate other genes. They do this by binding to complementary sections of the genetic material, thus preventing them from being read and implemented in genetic products. In plants, microRNAs mainly inhibit other regulators, so-called transcription factors. These factors can switch genes on or off by binding to DNA sections, thus activating or blocking them so that either too many or too few proteins are formed. Since proteins control metabolic processes, an imbalance leads to more or less clearly visible changes to the plant.

The scientists in Detlef Weigel's department at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology have investigated the effects that the transcription factors of the TCP family have on the growth and aging of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. These transcription factors are regulated by the microRNA miR319.

It was already known that miR319-regulated transcription factors affect the growth of leaves. Using a combination of biochemical and genetic analyses, the researchers have now discovered that the transcription factors also regulate those genes that are essential for the formation of the plant hormone jasmonic acid. The higher the quantity of the microRNA miR319 present in the plant, the lower the number of transcription factors that are produced, and hence the smaller the amount of jasmonic acid, which can be synthesized. These plants have longer growth periods and age more slowly than plants that contain less miR319 and therefore have a shorter growth period but die off sooner.

"Our studies show that the transcription factors, which are regulated by the microRNA miR319, exert a negative influence on the growth of plants, and also lead to premature aging," says Detlef Weigel. The mechanism discovered here is a further milestone in the attempt to explain the relationships of genetic regulation in plants. "Only when we have a better understanding of these processes will we be able to produce plants that have particularly desired properties," says biologist Weigel.

Original publication:
Schommer, C., Palatnik, J.F., Aggarwal, P., Chételat, A., Cubas, P., Farmer, E.E., Nath, U., Weigel, D. (2008): Control of Jasmonate Biosynthesis and Senescence by miR319 Targets. PLoS Biology.

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Detlef Weigel
Tel: +49 (0)7071-601-1410
E-mail: Detlef.Weigel@tuebingen.mpg.de
Dr. Susanne Diederich (Press and PR Department)
Tel: +49 (0)7071-601-333
E-mail: presse@tuebingen.mpg.de
The Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology conducts basic research in the areas of biochemistry, genetics and evolutionary biology. It has some 325 employees and is located at the Max Planck Campus in Tübingen, Germany. The MPI for Developmental Biology is one of 82 Institutes and research labs of the Max Planck Society for the Promotion of Science e.V.

Dr. Susanne Diederich | Max-Planck-Institut
Further information:
http://eb.mpg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>