Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protein plays role in helping plants see light

13.10.2011
Plants do not have eyes or legs, yet they are able to "see" and move toward and away from light. This ability, called phototropism, is controlled by a series of molecular-level signals between proteins inside and between plant cells.

In a paper published in The Plant Cell, University of Missouri scientists report for the first time the elusive role a critical protein plays in this molecular signaling pathway that regulates phototropism in plants.

Directional light that induces phototropism is sensed by a plant through the action of two light-sensing proteins, phototropin 1 and phototropin 2. These proteins act as photoreceptors and initiate the phototropic signaling response in conjunction with a third protein, called NPH3.

"If the phototropic signaling pathway were like a baseball game, the phototropins would be the pitcher and NPH3 the catcher who work together to coordinate the signal, or pitch," says Mannie Liscum, a professor of biological sciences in the College of Arts and Science and in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center. "Prior to this study, no one knew how NPH3 and the phototropins cooperated to facilitate the signal."

Using a combination of genetic and biochemical methods, Liscum and colleagues found that NPH3 functions as part of a protein complex that modifies phototropin 1 by the addition of a small protein "tag" called ubiquitin. Either a single ubiquitin or a chain of ubiquitin proteins is added, depending on the amount of light the plant "sees."

If we continue the baseball analogy, ubiquitin is the hand signals NPH3 uses to coordinate with phototropin 1 the type and sequence of signals depending on the particular lighting situation.

"In low-light conditions, phototropin 1 is modified with single ubiquitin proteins and then apparently moves to a different part of the cell. In high-light conditions, phototropin 1 is modified with multiple ubiquitin proteins and is degraded by the cell to shut down further signaling," says Liscum.

The finding may have applicability to research beyond phototropism in plants.

"The tagging of proteins with ubiquitin represents a common biochemical event throughout the biological world. In fact, many human disease pathologies are associated with alterations in ubiquitin-tagging," says Liscum. "Our studies identifying a single enzyme complex that is capable of modifying a substrate in different ways simply based on the environmental conditions may therefore have implications on fields far askew from agriculture."

The paper's co-authors include Diana Roberts and Ullas Pedmale, who are equal contributing co-first authors, as well as Johanna Morrow, Shrikesh Sachdev, and Mark Hannink, all from the University of Missouri; Esther Lechner and Pascal Genschik from the Institut de Biologie Moleculaire des Plantes du CNRS, France; and Xiaobo Tang and Ning Zheng from the University of Washington, Seattle. The research was supported by funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Melody Kroll | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.missouri.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water world
20.11.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

nachricht Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity
20.11.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Water world

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>