Scientists from the John Innes Centre (JIC), Norwich (1) have today reported that highly toxic compounds, called free radicals, are essential to plant growth. The researchers had found that the controlled production of free radicals is an essential first step in switching on the expansion of cells that underlies the growth of plant shoots, roots, leaves and buds. A phenomenon that is especially evident in the spring. The research is reported in the international scientific journal Nature.
"This is a completely novel discovery" said Dr Liam Dolan (leader of the research project at JIC). "For the first time we have strong evidence that all cell growth is controlled by the production of these highly reactive and therefore very toxic free radicals. At this time of year plants are juggling with a life and death balance as cells in sprouting seedlings and opening buds make high levels of these molecules in order to drive the expansion of new leaves, roots and shoots".
The research team have identified a gene (RHD2) that makes a protein, which produces free radicals(2). They have demonstrated that controlled production of free radicals by RHD2 stimulates calcium channels in the membranes of cells resulting in calcium being taken up by the cells. The accumulation of calcium in turn activates cell expansion. The scientists measured cell growth in roots and root hairs of Arabidopsis thaliana(3). In plants where the RHD2 gene was inactivated by a mutation the roots and root hairs were stunted. The multidisciplinary team used sophisticated microscopy to reveal the effect of RHD2 on free radical production and calcium movement into cells.
Ray Mathias | alfa
Nerves control the body’s bacterial community
26.09.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Ageless ears? Elderly barn owls do not become hard of hearing
26.09.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg
Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
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...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
26.09.2017 | Life Sciences
26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.09.2017 | Information Technology