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 Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>