Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Abnormal plant shows scientists path to plant, animal development

09.07.2003


A pickle-shaped root is revealing how plants develop from embryos to adults and also may hold answers about cancer cell growth.


Joe Ogas, an associate professor of biochemistry, displays a dish of two-day-old arabidopsis seedlings in his Purdue University research lab. Using the plants, Ogas hopes his research will provide clues about how cancer cells grow. (Agricultural Communications photo/Tom Campbell)



Purdue University researchers have uncovered nine specific genes that are shut off before plants make the developmental transition from the embryonic stage to adulthood. Results of the latest study are published in the July issue of The Plant Journal.

"We now have data supporting the hypothesis that the gene PKL is a master regulator of genes that promote embryonic identity," said Joe Ogas, an associate professor of biochemistry. "Some of the genes we identified are known to control plant embryo development. They tell the plant, ’be a seed.’ Then PKL says, ’You’re done being a seed,’ and turns them off."


The genes the scientists identified are part of a class called LEAFY COTYLEDON (LEC). The researchers call them the "master regulators" of embryogenesis, the formation and growth of the embryo. This new study suggests that PKL is the master switch that turns LEC genes off so that the plant can develop the root and leaf systems of adult plants.

"We hope to identify new factors common to both plants and animals that researchers looking at human development haven’t yet found," Ogas said. "These new factors might then provide insight into regulation of gene expression in humans during normal developmental processes and during abnormal events such as cancer."

It has been shown that a protein from a specific family plays an analogous role in controlling development in both the laboratory plant Arabidopsis and the laboratory animal C. elegans, a tiny transparent worm.

"This is our first attempt to understand how PKL works as a regulator of gene expression," Ogas said. "The neat thing about this work is that it’s also shown that in animal systems, a protein homologous, or corresponding, to PKL is also involved in turning off developmentally regulated genes. So, we’re finding similar regulatory roles for both human and plant proteins."

Ogas and his team found the embryo-promoting genes by studying a strain of Arabidopsis in which PKL is abnormal, or mutated. The mutated gene, designated as lowercase pkl, was unable to repress the embryogenesis genes. The result is a plant that is dwarfed compared to a normal plant, has a pickle-shaped root, and characteristics of both an embryo and an adult plant.

Ogas said they found that embryo-promoting genes are expressed at inappropriately high levels when PKL has not turned them off. This results in seedlings that still have embryonic traits.

The researchers believe they now can turn PKL on and off and that they know the chronology of steps needed to regulate genes that foster embryonic behavior.

The researchers studied 8,000 Arabidopsis genes to determine the specific ones that would only turn off if PKL is fully functional. Once PKL switches those embryonic genes off, the plants can proceed into normal adult development.

Ogas and his team used microarray analysis, in which bits of DNA are placed on a microchip, to identify nine genes involved in the development pathway. They also found that a number of genes that may be important to plants in the embryonic stage apparently are not affected by PKL.

"It is likely that some other proteins that act in this PKL-development pathway are used in animal systems," Ogas said. "Thus, some of the lessons that we learn by working in Arabidopsis also might be applicable to regulation of human gene expression."

The other researchers involved in this study were: postdoctoral student Stanley Dean Rider Jr. and graduate student James Henderson, both of the Purdue Department of Biochemistry; assistant professor Jeanne Romero-Severson of the Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Computational Genomics Center; and research scientist Ronald Jerome and professor Howard Edenberg, both of the Indiana University Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, the Indiana Genomics Initiative Program, the Lilly Endowment Inc., and BASF Inc. provided funding for this research.

Writer: Susan A. Steeves, (765) 496-7481, ssteeves@purdue.edu

Source: Joe Ogas, (765) 496-3969, ogas@purdue.edu

Susan A. Steeves | Purdue News
Further information:
http://news.uns.purdue.edu/html4ever/030707.Ogas.pickle.html
http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/doi/10.1046/j.1365-313X.2003.01783.x/full/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bare bones: Making bones transparent
27.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>