Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plant scientists find mechanism that gives plants ‘balance’

24.04.2012
When a plant goes into defense mode in order to protect itself against harsh weather or disease, that’s good for the plant, but bad for the farmer growing the plant. Bad because when a plant acts to defend itself, it turns off its growth mechanism.
But now researchers at Michigan State University, as part of an international collaboration, have figured out how plants can make the “decision” between growth and defense, a finding that could help them strike a balance – keep safe from harm while continuing to grow.

Writing in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sheng Yang He, an MSU professor of plant biology, and his team found that the two hormones that control growth (called gibberellins) and defense (known as jasmonates) literally come together in a crisis and figure out what to do.

“What we’ve discovered is that some key components of growth and defense programs physically interact with each other,” he said. “Communication between the two is how plants coordinate the two different situations.

We now know where one of the elusive molecular links is between growth and defense.”

This is important because now that scientists know that this happens, they can work to figure out how to “uncouple” the two, He added.

“Perhaps at some point we can genetically or chemically engineer the plants so they don’t talk to each other that much,” He said. “This way we may be able to increase yield and defense at the same time.”

In this way, He said plants are a lot like humans. We only have a certain amount of energy to use, and we have to make wise choices on how to use it.

“Plants, like people, have to learn to prioritize,” he said. “You can use your energy for growth, or use it for defense, but you can’t do them both at maximum level at the same time.”

The work was done on two different plants: rice, a narrow-leafed plant, and Arabidopsis, which has a broader leaf. This was significant because it demonstrated that this phenomenon occurs in a variety of plants.

He was one of the lead investigators on an international team of scientists that studied the issue. Other participating institutions included the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Hunan Agricultural University, the University of Arkansas, Duke University, Yale University and Penn State University.

Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute/Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator. Earning the prestige honor last year, He is one of only 15 in the country.

Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

Tom Oswald | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.msu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cnidarians remotely control bacteria
21.09.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Immune cells may heal bleeding brain after strokes
21.09.2017 | NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>