Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic switch regulates a plant's internal clock based on temperature

23.09.2014

New research could 1 day lead to heartier plants, better adapted to deal with climate change

Scientists have discovered a key molecular cog in a plant's biological clock – one that modulates the speed of circadian (daily) rhythms based on temperature.


Dr. Steve A. Kay confers with a student in his lab.

Credit: Emily Cavalcanti / USC Dornsife

Transcription factors, or genetic switches, drive gene expression in plants based on external stresses – such as light, rain, soil quality, or even animals grazing on them. A team of researchers at USC has isolated one, called FBH1, that reacts to temperature – tweaking the rhythm here and there as needed while in keeping it on a consistent track.

"Temperature helps keep the hands of the biological clock in the right place," said Steve A. Kay, dean of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the corresponding author of the study. "Now we know more about how that works."

Kay worked with lead author Dawn Nagel, a post-doc9/22/2014toral researcher at USC; and coauthor Jose Pruneda-Paz, an assistant professor at the University of California-San Diego, on the study, which was published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept. 22.

Understanding the mechanics of how the interactions between the biological clock and the transcriptional network work could allow scientists to breed plants that are better able to deal with stressful environments – crucial in a world where farmers attempt to feed an increasing population amid urban development of arable land and a rising global temperature.

"Global climate change suggests that it's going to get warmer and since plants cannot run away from the heat, they're going to have to adapt to a changing environment. This study suggests one mechanism for us to understand how this interaction works," Nagel said.

Both plants and animals have transcription factors, but plants have on average six times as many – likely because they lack the ability to get up and walk away from any of their stressors.

"Plants have to be exquisitely tuned to their environment," Kay said. "They have evolved mechanisms to deal with things that we take for granted. Even light can be a stressor, if you are rooted to one location."

Among other things, Kay's research explores how these transcription factors affect plants' circadian rhythms, which set the pace and schedule for how plants grow.

Kay and his team conducted their research on Arabidopsis, a flowering member of the mustard family that is used as a model organism by scientists because of its high seed production, short life cycle, and the fact that now all of its genome has been sequenced.

###

This research was funded by the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F32GM090375), and the National Instiutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences (R01GM056006, R01Gm067837, and RC2GM092412).

Robert Perkins | Eurek Alert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Complementing conventional antibiotics
24.05.2018 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Building a brain, cell by cell: Researchers make a mini neuron network (of two)
23.05.2018 | Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>