Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018

A team of plant geneticists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has identified a protein receptor on stem cells involved in plant development that can issue different instructions about how to grow depending on what peptide (protein fragment) activates it.

This is the first such multi-functional receptor found to work in this way to control plant development. The new findings obtained by CSHL Professor David Jackson and colleagues may have important implications for efforts to boost yields of essential food crops such as corn and rice.


Pathways that control plant stem cells can be modified to make plants generate bigger fruits or more seeds. The tip of this ear of corn is growing abnormally, but provided scientists with information about how to tweak expression of a key gene to boost yield.

Credit: Jackson Lab, CSHL

Plant growth and development depend on structures called meristems - reservoirs in plants that contain stem cells. When prompted by peptide signals, stem cells in the meristem develop into any of the plant's organs - roots, leaves, or flowers, for example.

These signals generally work like a key (the peptide) fitting into a lock on the surface of a cell (the protein receptor). The lock opens momentarily, triggering the release of a chemical messenger inside the cell. The messenger carries instructions for the cell to do something, such as grow into a root or flower cell or even stop growing altogether. Conventionally, one or more peptides fit into a receptor to release a single type of chemical messenger.

Jackson and colleagues, however, recently discovered that a protein receptor they first identified in 2001, called FEA2, can can trigger the release of one of two distinct chemical messengers, CT2 or ZmCRN, depending on which of two peptides, ZmCLE7 or ZmFCP1, switches it on. Receptors that release more than one messenger are rare. Jackson says this is the first one discovered that plays a role in crop production.

FEA2 is an important receptor in the CLAVATA signaling pathway, which is known to activate stem cells. Jackson, as well as his CSHL colleague Professor Zachary Lippmann, have previously tweaked this pathway to manipulate the meristem to boost the yield of prominent crop species including tomato, corn, and mustard.

Jackson and his team believe that FEA2 is bound to two different co-receptors, each of which acts as the "lock" for one of the two peptide "keys." Future research will explore how the two different peptide signals are translated by FEA2 into distinct chemical messages.

"We think the way this stem cell signaling pathway works is fundamental to all plants," Jackson says. "We have shown that, in theory, the pathways that control stem cells can be modified to make bigger fruits or more seeds. With this study we've learned something new about how these pathways work, giving plant scientists another tool for improving crop yields."

###

Funding

National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Science Foundation, Next-Generation BioGreen 21 Program, Human Frontier Science Program

Citation

Je, B.I., et al., "The CLAVATA receptor FASCIATED EAR2 responds to distinct CLE peptides by signaling through two downstream effectors" appeared online in eLife March 15, 2018.

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory's education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit http://www.cshl.edu

Media Contact

Peter Tarr
tarr@cshl.edu
516-367-5055

 @cshl

http://www.cshl.edu 

Peter Tarr | EurekAlert!

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Breeders release new flaxseed cultivar with higher yield
11.09.2019 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht Team of researchers in Vienna has decoded the structure of the ribonucleoprotein (RNP) of rabies virus
29.07.2019 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Tomorrow´s coolants of choice

Scientists assess the potential of magnetic-cooling materials

Later during this century, around 2060, a paradigm shift in global energy consumption is expected: we will spend more energy for cooling than for heating....

Im Focus: The working of a molecular string phone

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Potsdam (both in Germany) and the University of Toronto (Canada) have pieced together a detailed time-lapse movie revealing all the major steps during the catalytic cycle of an enzyme. Surprisingly, the communication between the protein units is accomplished via a water-network akin to a string telephone. This communication is aligned with a ‘breathing’ motion, that is the expansion and contraction of the protein.

This time-lapse sequence of structures reveals dynamic motions as a fundamental element in the molecular foundations of biology.

Im Focus: Milestones on the Way to the Nuclear Clock

Two research teams have succeeded simultaneously in measuring the long-sought Thorium nuclear transition, which enables extremely precise nuclear clocks. TU Wien (Vienna) is part of both teams.

If you want to build the most accurate clock in the world, you need something that "ticks" very fast and extremely precise. In an atomic clock, electrons are...

Im Focus: Graphene sets the stage for the next generation of THz astronomy detectors

Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology have demonstrated a detector made from graphene that could revolutionize the sensors used in next-generation space telescopes. The findings were recently published in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy.

Beyond superconductors, there are few materials that can fulfill the requirements needed for making ultra-sensitive and fast terahertz (THz) detectors for...

Im Focus: Physicists from Stuttgart prove the existence of a supersolid state of matte

A supersolid is a state of matter that can be described in simplified terms as being solid and liquid at the same time. In recent years, extensive efforts have been devoted to the detection of this exotic quantum matter. A research team led by Tilman Pfau and Tim Langen at the 5th Institute of Physics of the University of Stuttgart has succeeded in proving experimentally that the long-sought supersolid state of matter exists. The researchers report their results in Nature magazine.

In our everyday lives, we are familiar with matter existing in three different states: solid, liquid, or gas. However, if matter is cooled down to extremely...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Society 5.0: putting humans at the heart of digitalisation

10.09.2019 | Event News

Interspeech 2019 conference: Alexa and Siri in Graz

04.09.2019 | Event News

AI for Laser Technology Conference: optimizing the use of lasers with artificial intelligence

29.08.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Too much of a good thing: overactive immune cells trigger inflammation

16.09.2019 | Life Sciences

Scientists create a nanomaterial that is both twisted and untwisted at the same time

16.09.2019 | Materials Sciences

Researchers have identified areas of the retina that change in mild Alzheimer's disease

16.09.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>