Plants that “lose the battle” during competitiveness for light because they are shaded by larger neighbours, counteract. They adapt by rapid shoot elongation and stretch their leaves towards the sun. The molecular basis of this so-called shade avoidance syndrome had been unclarified to date. Research scientists from the Utrecht University in the Netherlands and the Ruhr University in Bochum have now been able to unravel a regulation pathway.
A specific transport protein (PIN3) enables the accumulation of the plant hormone auxin, which plays an important role during this adaptation process, in the outer cell layers of the plants, thus enhancing the growth process. The international group of researchers, which includes the plant hormone specialist Prof. Stephan Pollmann from the RUB, has published its observations in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science PNAS.
Suddenly in the shade: plants counteract
Plants often grow in very complex ecosystems, implying that they are in danger of being overgrown and thus shaded by adjacent larger neighbours. Plants have a number of adjustment mechanisms enabling them to register competing neighbours and enhance their competitive reaction. This ensures flexible reaction. Permanent perception of the light intensity and quality is imperative for this process. Prof. Pollmann explained that chlorophyll, the photosynthetic pigment in the leaves, absorbs almost all shades of blue and far red, only allowing dark red light to pass through the leaves. There is a significant change in the red to far-red ratio if a plant is shaded by foliage. If the light receptors in the plants register this change, they initiate a number of adjustment mechanisms in their growth and development program. Taken together these constitute the so-called shadow avoidance syndrome. They enhance the growth of shoots and the upward movement of the leaves (i.e. the hyponastic response).
Auxins play a significant role
Vascular plants produce an entire series of different small signalling molecules, so-called phytohormones, which regulate growth and differentiation processes. Auxins, one of the best-known plant growth factors, have an extremely wide spectrum of activity, and are particularly important. They play a decisive role in almost all plant growth processes, including the shade avoidance reaction. To date, the underlying mechanism was however not fully comprehended. Prof. Pollmann stated that it had been known that the effect of auxin is based on an interaction of auxin formation, transportation and signal transduction. These processes are all influenced by a low red to far-red ratio, but the exact mechanisms were not understood.
Protein distribution ensures directional the flow of hormones
A group of research scientists working under the auspices of the ecophysiologist Dr. Ronald Pierik at the Utrecht University (NL) has now managed to shed light on the matter and further clarify the growth processes in the shoots during the shade avoidance syndrome. They made an interesting observation, namely that shoot growth during a low red to far-red ratio is subject to an intact auxin perception mechanism and is dependent on the accumulation of auxin in the shoot. The auxin transport protein PIN-FORMED 3 (PIN3) is primarily responsible for this accumulation. The formation of PIN3 is enhanced when the ratio between red to far red is low. It primarily accumulates in the lateral endodermal cell walls. This distribution of PIN3 leads to an auxin flow towards the epidermal cell layers, which are responsible for the elongation growth of the shoot.
Comparison between plants in light and shade
This working hypothesis could be experimentally verified by collaboration with Prof. Stephan Pollmann, an expert for phytohormones at the Ruhr University in Bochum. Using state-of-the art mass spectrometry, he succeeded in quantifying and comparing the auxin content in wild-type and genetically created pin3 mutants, which are not capable of producing the transport protein. The shade avoidance syndrome was not present in the genetically altered plants without PIN3. Prof. Pollmann summarized that it is thus possible to deduce the important role of PIN3 controlled auxin accumulation during the shade avoidance reaction.
Keuskamp, D.H., Pollmann, S., Voesenek, L.A.C.J., Peeters, A.J.M., Pierik, R.: Auxin transport through PIN-FORMED 3 (PIN3) controls shade avoidance and fitness during competition. In: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1013457108
Dr. Ronald Pierik, University of Utrecht, F.A.F.C. Wentgebouw, Sorbonnelaan 14-16, Room: Z407, 3584 Utrecht, Netherlands, Tel.: +31 30-2536838, Fax: +31 30-2518366, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Stephan Pollmann, Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas (UPM-INIA), Campus de Montegancedo, Crta. M-40, km 38, 28223 Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid, Spain, Tel.: +34 91 336-4589, Fax: +34 91 715-7721, e-mail: email@example.com
Editor: Meike Drießen
Dr. Josef König | idw
Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy