Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sun protection for plants - Plant substances can protect plants against harmful UV radiation

22.08.2016

Summer, Heat, Sunburn – An usual combination nowadays. While we are able to protect our skin with sun blocker, plants developed mechanisms to protect themselves against harmful UV radiation. This becomes possible by the production of so-called secondary plant metabolites.The research team of Dr. Alisdair Fernie at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology is analyzing this complex group of substances in detail. They characterized the FPT2 gene corresponding to the production of newly found compounds, which are able to protect plants against damages by UV radiation. Together with their cooperation partners in Japan, the research team characterized these substances in detail.

Plants own several thousands of substances with diverse functions. Those compounds are divided in different groups, including primary metabolites, as sugars and amino acids, and secondary metabolites. The secondary metabolites are characterized by diverse functions, including defense against herbivores, regulation of growth or working as pigments.


UV radiation can cause harmful effects on plants, including bleaching of leaves and damages of flowers.

Takayuki Tohge, MPI-MP

Secondary plant metabolites are not essential in humans’ nutrition, nevertheless they often show effects on the human metabolism. Especially flavonoids and carotenoids are known to show health-promoting action. They work as natural antioxidants and exhibiting anti-inflammatory effects.

Moreover, secondary metabolites containing aromatic rings can mitigate damage by ultraviolet (UV) radiation in plants. Although, plants rely on sun light for the photosynthesis process, the UV radiation can cause damages in the cells.

This includes harmful effects of the genome and of proteins, resulting in mutations or destruction of cell structures. Flowers are particularly sensitive to UV-B light. This has impacts on the reproduction efficiency and could result in decreased yields of crop plants. Due to this permanent pressure, plants evolved protecting agents.

The research team of Dr. Alisdair Fernie and Dr. Takayuki Tohge of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology started to search for such compounds. For this purpose, the researchers used the plant model thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana, Brassicaceae).

It is one of the most important model plant organisms with a worldwide distribution. Its geographical distribution was the origin of diverse ecotypes with adaptions to their respective habitats. The research team analyzed secondary metabolites in flowers of 64 different Arabidopsis accessions.

First of all, they profiled 68 floral secondary metabolites including 18 so far unknown compounds with similar structures. With the help of their Japanese cooperation partners Prof. Kazuki Saito and Prof. Hiromitsu Takayama, the research team was able to identify the chemical structure of these metabolites and assigned them to the secondary metabolite class of the flavonoid. More precisely, they were assigned to a sub-group of flavonoids – the phenylacylated-flavonols, they named as “saiginols”.

“We used the old style Japanese saigiru, as it stands for blocking off or disruption. Here we added the “nol” for the group of flavonols”, explains Dr. Takayuki Tohge.

Next to the chemical characterization, the researchers aimed to identify first steps of the biosynthesis of saiginols using genome wide studies. They identified a related gene (FPT2) which is responsible for the production of all 18 saiginols. Furthermore, the researchers could demonstrate UV-B absorbing properties of these compounds comparing saiginol producer and non-producer lines.

Thus, saiginols were able to enhance protection against UV-B radiation damage in plants. Of particular note was the finding, that only 31 of 64 Arabidopsis ecotypes produce saiginols. By a mapping of the plants according to their site of origin, it was shown that especially plants deriving from high irradiance habitats produce saiginols. The researchers hypothesized that the other 33 non-producing accessions had not been filtrated by natural light selection related to protecting mechanisms against harmful UV radiation by those compounds due to their provenance.

So far, the FPT2 gene was just identified in Arabidopsis. Nevertheless, the researchers found similar gene sequences in the genomic region of close relatives of Arabidopsis (Brassicaceae plants). Further analysis of the FPT2 genomic region will provide an evolutionary framework of the natural history of these genes in Arabidopsis and Brassicaceae plants.


Contact
Dr. Alisdair Fernie
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology
Tel. 0331/567 8211
fernie@mpimp-golm.mpg.de

Dr. Takayuki Tohge
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology
Tel. 0331/567 8211
tohge@mpimp-golm.mpg.de

Dr. Ulrike Glaubitz
Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology
Tel. 0331/567 8275
glaubitz@mpimp-golm.mpg.de
http://www.mpimp-golm.mpg.de

Original publication
Takayuki Tohge, Regina Wendenburg, Hirofumi Ishihara, Ryo Nakabayashi, Mutsumi Watanabe, Ronan Sulpice, Rainer Hoefgen, Hiromitsu Takayama, Kazuki Saito, Mark Stitt, Alisdair R. Fernie
Characterization of a recently evolved flavonolphenylacyltransferase gene provides signatures of natural light selection in Brassicaceae
Nature Communications, 22.08.2016, doi: 10.1038/NCOMMS12399

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.mpimp-golm.mpg.de/2075050/sonnenschutz-fuer-pflanzen

Dipl. Ing. agr. Ursula Ross-Stitt | Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>