Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plants on steroids

08.03.2010
The identification of a gene involved in steroid hormone signaling in plants could benefit agriculture and reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide

Working with Arabidopsis, a member of the cabbage family, a team led by Takeshi Nakano of the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Wako has identified a gene, BPG2, that encodes a previously uncharacterized protein expressed by chloroplasts, the power houses of plant cells where energy from sunlight is harvested by the green pigment chlorophyll and used to build sugars for growth.

The researchers found that BPG2 is involved in signaling mediated by brassinosteroids, plant hormones related to steroid hormones of animals. In plants, these hormones have specific roles in growth and development of stems, leaves and roots. They are also involved in pollen tube growth required for sexual reproduction, and in senescence.

“Our identification of a chloroplast gene controlled by brassinosteroids demonstrates that these steroid hormones are also important for chloroplast regulation,” says Nakano.

Nakano and colleagues genetically screened some 10,000 Arabidopsis lines using a new chemical biology method and identified a pale green mutant that was insensitive to the acceleration of greening normally caused by Brz (brassinazole), a chemical that specifically inhibits the biosynthesis of brassinosteroids. This suggested the disruption of brassinosteroid-chloroplast signaling in the mutant plants and led to the identification of BPG2.

Further investigation revealed that chloroplast proteins normally induced by Brz failed to accumulate in the mutant plants. Electron microscope studies also showed that the structure of chloroplasts was abnormal in these plants.

The researchers then found that BPG2 expression is induced by light and Brz. The BPG2 protein is not directly involved in transcribing DNA to messenger RNA, the genetic template of protein. Instead, it regulates the splicing in chloroplasts of molecular precursors of ribosomal RNA, the core component of the machinery called the ribosome that manufactures proteins.

A computer search of DNA sequence databases revealed that BPG2-related genes occur in the genomes of other plants, including green algae, mosses and rice, and also in the common soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis.

Plants arose from a union of two organisms, including the bacterial ancestor of chloroplasts, which explains why chloroplasts have their own genomes.

“The fact that BPG2-related genes are conserved in bacteria suggests that the BPG2 gene family arose early in the evolution of life on Earth,” explains Nakano. “We hope to genetically engineer plants to increase the expression of BPG2 so as to promote chloroplast and photosynthesis activity, which in future could potentially increase the productivity of agricultural crops and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere.”

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Plant Chemical Biology Research Unit, RIKEN Advanced Science Institute

Journal information

Komatsu, T., Kawaide, H., Saito, C., Yamagami, A., Shimada, S., Nakazawa, M., Matsui, M., Nakano, A., Tsujimoto, M., Natsume, M., Abe, H., Asami, T. & Nakano, T. The chloroplast protein BPG2 functions in brassinosteroid-mediated post-transcriptional accumulation of chloroplast rRNA. The Plant Journal 61, 409–422 (2009)

Saeko Okada | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp/eng/research/6196
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First line of defence against influenza further decoded
21.02.2018 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

nachricht Helping in spite of risk: Ants perform risk-averse sanitary care of infectious nest mates
21.02.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

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...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

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...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's first solar fuels reactor for night passes test

21.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

Similarities found in cancer initiation in kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas

21.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

First line of defence against influenza further decoded

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>