Nearly 80 percent of the worlds food begins as seeds, including such staple crops as corn, wheat and rice. Despite the importance and ubiquity of seeds, researchers have learned precious little about the processes that regulate plant fertilization, the essential first step in seed formation.
Pollen tubes (red tubules) from the pop2 mutant grow in a tangled mass within female tissues. Rather than efficiently growing up to an ovule (upper right), they instead gather at the ovules base.
Photo: Anna Edlund
Now, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers have identified a key molecular signal that regulates the growth and guidance of the “pollen tube,” a tunnel formed by the pollen grain that aids in fertilizing the plants eggs. They say their initial findings could open a new route to understanding the multitude of interacting control signals that likely guide the pollen tube on its crucial journey.
In an article published in the July 11, 2003, issue of the journal Cell, HHMI investigator Daphne Preuss and her colleagues at the University of Chicago report that the molecule gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), best known for its role as a neurotransmitter in the mammalian nervous system, is a key signaling molecule that triggers plant reproduction.
Jim Keeley | HHMI
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Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
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A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
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