Daily rhythms in the biochemical or metabolic activity of cells have long been known across all biological kingdoms. They are governed by the oscillating activity of clock genes, the impairment of which has been shown in mice to be related lifestyle diseases such as obesity. In plants, production of plant biomass is likely to be linked with clock genes.
Recent studies in the genetic model plant Arabidopsis have revealed three key genes involved in the timing mechanism—CCA1, LHY and TOC1. These genes form the centerpiece of several interlocked feedback loops which establish and adjust the daily oscillation pattern.
Kazuki Saito and colleagues from the RIKEN Plant Science Center in Yokohama and Nagoya University studied the molecular impact of mutations in these key clock genes. They analyzed not only the direct changes in the nucleic acid and protein products generated by mutant genes, but they also looked at the differences in the downstream metabolic products formed. Details of their work were published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (1).
TOC1 is one of five related proteins known as the pseudo-response regulator (PRR) family. Previous work has shown them to be important components in adjusting the circadian system to changes in temperature and light. The researchers focused on a triple mutant of PRR9, 7 and 5 which leads to inability to establish a circadian rhythm under constant light. In previous work the research group demonstrated a strong link between this mutant and stress response in plants.
The triple mutant leads to late-flowering plants with dark green leaves. They are similar in appearance to those generated when the CCA1 gene becomes overactive. But the researchers found the metabolic details of two plant forms to be utterly different. In particular, they were surprised to find that the triple mutant led to a build-up of three key intermediate compounds of the tri-carboxylic acid pathway, the standard energy release process which takes place in the mitochondria of all higher organisms. The impact of the mutant PRR clock genes on the mitochondria was direct and unequivocal.
“We now want to determine the molecular components involved in this link between the clock genes and metabolism,” says Saito.
Fukushima, A., Kusano, M., Nakamichi, N., Kobayashi, M., Hayashi, N., Sakakibara, H., Mizuno, T. & Saito, K. Impact of clock-associated Arabidopsis pseudo-response regulators in metabolic coordination. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106, 7251–7256 (2009).
The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the RIKEN Metabolomics Research Group
New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations
16.01.2018 | University of California - San Diego
Unexpected environmental source of methane discovered
16.01.2018 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.01.2018 | Awards Funding