Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Discover Chemical Compounds that Help Plants Deal with Gravity

16.03.2005


Biologists identify chemicals affecting plant growth in response to gravity



A team of biologists from the University of California, Riverside has used chemical genomics to identify novel compounds that affect the ability of plants to alter their direction of growth in response to gravity, a phenomenon known as gravitropism.

The researchers screened a library of 10,000 small molecules, the practice is known as chemical genomics, to identify those that could positively or negatively affect gravity’s effect on plant growth, which is closely linked to the movement of proteins through plant cell membranes, a process known as endomembrane trafficking. “Well-characterized bioactive chemicals and their targets identified in the model plant, Arabidopsis, can be used in non-model species to improve agronomic traits and increase crop value,” said research team leader, Distinguished Professor of Plant Cell Biology Natasha Raikhel.


The team published its findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition of March 14 in a paper titled, "The Power of Chemical Genomics to Study the Link between Endomembrane System Components and Gravitropic Response." Her team included equal contributions from UCR colleagues Marci Surpin, Marcela Pierce-Rojas, Clay Carter, Glenn R. Hicks. Co-author Jacob Vasquez originally came to the Raikhel lab from San Bernardino Valley College as a participant in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in 2003 and has remained to contribute to research efforts while studying at UCR.

The team’s chemical genomics approach focuses on the use of small molecules to modify or disrupt the functions of specific genes or proteins. NASA supported the research. “This contrasts with classical genetics, in which mutations disrupt gene function,” Raikhel said. “The underlying concept is that the functions of most proteins can be altered by the binding of a chemical, which can be found by screening large libraries for compounds that specifically affect a measurable process.”

The scientists found 219 chemicals that affected the direction of plant growth due to gravity. Further screens reduced this number to 34, then down to 4 chemicals, which affected gravitropism and the movement of proteins through membranes within the plant cell. Only one of these resembled auxins, a plant-produced growth hormone involved in gravitropic responses, while two of the four did not work through known auxin pathways. One of the chemicals resembled pyocyanin a product of bacterial metabolism thought to target yeast cell membranes. With chemical genomics, the team could identify valuable genetic characteristics beyond the reach of conventional mutations, which are often lethal when present in essential genes such as those that encode many cellular membrane components. Combined with the formidable genetic mapping and information available from the Arabidopsis plant, chemical genomics is becoming a powerful new tool in plant biology. It is helping scientists better understand protein transportation and genetic signaling in a plant’s cellular membrane system, which is essential to plant growth, yet is poorly understood.

The researchers can now use the compounds they have discovered to identify target pathways and proteins within the endomembrane system.

The University of California, Riverside is a major research institution and a national center for the humanities. Key areas of research include nanotechnology, genomics, environmental studies, digital arts and sustainable growth and development. With a current undergraduate and graduate enrollment of nearly 17,000, the campus is projected to grow to 21,000 students by 2010. Located in the heart of inland Southern California, the nearly 1,200-acre, park-like campus is at the center of the region’s economic development. Visit www.ucr.edu or call 951-UCR-NEWS for more information. Media sources are available at http://www.mediasources.ucr.edu/.

Ricardo Duran | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucr.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals
23.08.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Treating arthritis with algae
23.08.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>