Heidelberg bioscientists discover the function of a fundamental biological mechanism
In their research on the model plant thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana), scientists from the Centre for Organismal Studies of Heidelberg University have discovered a major function of a fundamental cellular mechanism for stress management. They observed that the biochemistry and cell biology of plants and humans are quite similar.
Their findings are significant for the stress biology of human cells as well as the development of agricultural crops that are highly resistant to their primary stressor, drought. The Heidelberg team under the direction of Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Hell and Dr. Markus Wirtz also cooperated with researchers from France and Norway in their investigations. Their results were published in the journal “Nature Communications”.
Proteins have many tasks to fulfil in the structure, function and regulation of cells. Once the proteins are formed, they are further adapted for their very specific jobs. “One of the most frequent changes is the attachment of an acetic acid residue on the amino-terminal end of the proteins. Lacking this modification, the plants cannot survive, and this same lack in certain proteins in humans leads to illness, developmental problems and cell death,” explains Prof. Hell.
Although up to 80 percent of proteins in the cytoplasm of human cells are modified by an acetic acid residue at their amino terminus, the function of this modification has only been studied for a handful of proteins.
The Heidelberg researchers generated genetically modified plants with protein populations that carry less acetic acid residues and analysed the results. “The changed pattern of amino-terminal modification proteins by acetic acid surprisingly made the genetically modified plants proved to be more drought-resistant,” continues Dr. Wirtz. The reason turned out to be mediated by the plant hormone abscisic acid, a key player in drought stress. The drought resistance was based on the constant activation of natural plant processes to counteract the stress, such as closing the stomata and lengthening the primary root.
E. Linster, I. Stephan, W.V. Bienvenut, J. Maple-Grødem, L.M. Myklebust, M. Huber, M. Reichelt, C. Sticht, S. Geir Møller, T. Meinnel, T. Arnesen, C. Giglione, R. Hell, M. Wirtz: Downregulation of N-terminal acetylation triggers ABA-mediated drought responses in Arabidopsis. Nature Communications (17 July 2015), doi: 10.1038/ncomms8640
Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Hell
Centre for Organismal Studies (COS)
Phone + 49 6221 54-6284
Communications and Marketing
Phone +49 6221 54-2311
Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
How molecules teeter in a laser field
18.01.2019 | Forschungsverbund Berlin
Discovery of enhanced bone growth could lead to new treatments for osteoporosis
18.01.2019 | University of California - Los Angeles
The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research
Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI
The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...
World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles
The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.
Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.
In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...
Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.
It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:
The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.
One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...
16.01.2019 | Event News
14.01.2019 | Event News
12.12.2018 | Event News
18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2019 | Life Sciences
18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine