Roots are the most underestimated parts of a plant, even though they are crucial for water and nutrient uptake and consequently growth. In a world of changing water availability and an ever-increasing human population, it will therefore be crucial to understand how root development is controlled in plants. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, now described that the plant hormone auxin together with an increased cell cycle activity leads to a boost in root branching in the common thale cress Arabidopsis thaliana. In addition, they showed that two proteins that are crucial for embryo development also play a critical role in root branching. These results could be used to raise plants that are fast-growing even in dry and nutrient-poor soils (PNAS, January 25 - 29, 2010).
About two hundred years ago, Thomas Robert Malthus predicted that sooner or later a continuously growing world population would be confronted with famine, disease, and widespread mortality. Today, the world is facing the major challenge of providing food security for an ever-growing world population, which will require an increase in food production that is exceeding the one from previous decades. To achieve this, a new green revolution is needed, which will result in high yield plants that grow in soils with very low potential.
Astoundingly, when one thinks about a plant, mainly flowers, leaves, fruits and seeds come to mind, but one rarely considers the roots - the part hidden below the soil - as vital parts. Nevertheless, the root system, which consists of a main root that makes lateral branches, is without doubt the most important part of the plant, since without roots, a plant cannot take up nutrients and water, cannot stay upright, and cannot interact with advantageous symbiotic organisms.
Building on previous observations, a group of scientists in the Department of Gerd Jürgens at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, together with scientists in Belgium, described the necessity of combining increased cell cycle activity and auxin, which is one of the major plant hormones, to give rise to an increase in root branching. Their study object was the common thale cress Arabidopsis thaliana. In addition, they showed that two proteins that are crucial for embryo development also play a critical role in root branching. Furthermore, they could for the first time demonstrate that the response to the hormone auxin takes place in discrete, successive steps."This knowledge is an important step towards an improved and increased root system that can support the required increase in plant yield, which will guarantee food security and which will support the role of plants as an energy source", said Ive De Smet. "Specifically, since water, nitrogen and phosphorus availability are often limiting, a root system that is able to more efficiently take up and store nutrients will allow the use of less fertilizer and will permit plants to survive in dry, less arable areas", the biologist added.
Contact:Dr. Ive De Smet
Barbara Abrell | Max Planck Society
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy