Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Circadian influence in plants more widespread than previously thought


While picking apart the genetic makeup of the plant Arabidopsis, two Dartmouth researchers made a startling discovery. They found that approximately 36 percent of its genome is potentially regulated by the circadian clock, which is three and a half times more than had previously been estimated.

The study, which appears in the June issue of Plant Physiology, was conducted by C. Robertson McClung, Dartmouth professor of biological sciences, and Todd Michael, a former Dartmouth graduate student who is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif. Their research on circadian-controlled genes contributes to efforts to help improve plant productivity and can possibly lead to growing crops that are more resistant to stressful soil or climate conditions.

McClung and Michael used a technique called "gene trapping" or "enhancer trapping" to measure how much mRNA is produced or synthesized by large sections in the genome. According to McClung, a great deal of gene regulation occurs in the gene’s ability to synthesize mRNA, which then is translated into proteins that perform the critical metabolic activities of a cell.

In this study, the researchers randomly inserted a gene that encodes an easily measurable element, in this case luciferase (the enzyme that makes fireflies glow), into the genome to see what genes would be involved in mRNA synthesis. Luciferase is only expressed when it is inserted adjacent to an active plant gene, and it takes on that native gene’s expression. With this method the researchers found new regions of the genome under circadian control.

"In terms of clock control of mRNA synthesis, it does appear that it’s more widespread than we had estimated," says McClung. "It runs contrary to accepted dogma. It’s a new look at this from a slightly different perspective and it gives a slightly different answer. I think our study points out some of the limitations of microarray analysis."

Previous comprehensive genetic studies utilized microarray analysis and had only measured about 10% of the mRNAs in the organism showing circadian oscillations. Microarray studies look at the total abundance of mRNA, including both synthesis and degradation. McClung and Michael’s measurements focus specifically on the rate of mRNA synthesis.

Questions still remain about the discrepancy between the number of genes whose mRNA synthesis is clock regulated and the number whose mRNA abundance exhibits circadian oscillations.

"The answer might lie with the stability of mRNA; if it’s too stable, then the rhythms disappear because the vast majority of the mRNA persists, leading to a pattern of apparent continuous accumulation," says McClung. "It’s also possible that we picked up orphan circadian elements that aren’t actually regulating anything."

Sue Knapp | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>