Generally, plants adjust their growth to fit in with their local environment, light being easily the most important factor - after all, they need light to live. These responses are not controlled by photosynthesis itself, however, but by specialized photoreceptor proteins including phytochrome and phototropin which respond to red and blue light, respectively.
Whereas phototropin somehow steers growth direction in higher plants, phytochrome controls most aspects of plant development including germination, stem extension, greening and even flowering. Not surprisingly, it has been found that very many plant genes are regulated by phytochrome, and indeed most textbooks say that phytochrome works exclusively in this manner.
That cannot be true, however, because some phytochrome effects occur almost instantaneously whereas it takes at least 10 minutes to activate a gene and produce a protein. Moreover, in lower plants it is phytochrome that steers growth direction – that simply can't be done via gene regulation.
However, writing in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Katharina Jaedicke and colleagues from the Institute for Plant Physiology of the Justus Liebig University in Giessen now report that phytochrome binds to phototropin at the cell membrane in both lower and higher plants. In moss filaments, the phytochrome probably uses the phototropin to steer growth towards the light source because no reaction occurs if the phototropin is missing. The association of phytochrome with phototropin in higher plants probably has a different function in relation to direction sensing, however.The discovery is particularly remarkable because elegant experiments with polarized light carried out in the 1960's predicted that phytochrome was attached to the cell membrane – but up to now there had been no direct evidence for this. Scientists will now be able to use the new findings to design experiments which might provide vital information about how phytochrome and phototropin work and thus how plants respond to light – phenomena which are fundamental to agriculture and thus our food supply.
Christel Lauterbach | idw
Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
26.06.2017 | Life Sciences
26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.06.2017 | Information Technology