Generally, plants adjust their growth to fit in with their local environment, light being easily the most important factor - after all, they need light to live. These responses are not controlled by photosynthesis itself, however, but by specialized photoreceptor proteins including phytochrome and phototropin which respond to red and blue light, respectively.
Whereas phototropin somehow steers growth direction in higher plants, phytochrome controls most aspects of plant development including germination, stem extension, greening and even flowering. Not surprisingly, it has been found that very many plant genes are regulated by phytochrome, and indeed most textbooks say that phytochrome works exclusively in this manner.
That cannot be true, however, because some phytochrome effects occur almost instantaneously whereas it takes at least 10 minutes to activate a gene and produce a protein. Moreover, in lower plants it is phytochrome that steers growth direction – that simply can't be done via gene regulation.
However, writing in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Katharina Jaedicke and colleagues from the Institute for Plant Physiology of the Justus Liebig University in Giessen now report that phytochrome binds to phototropin at the cell membrane in both lower and higher plants. In moss filaments, the phytochrome probably uses the phototropin to steer growth towards the light source because no reaction occurs if the phototropin is missing. The association of phytochrome with phototropin in higher plants probably has a different function in relation to direction sensing, however.The discovery is particularly remarkable because elegant experiments with polarized light carried out in the 1960's predicted that phytochrome was attached to the cell membrane – but up to now there had been no direct evidence for this. Scientists will now be able to use the new findings to design experiments which might provide vital information about how phytochrome and phototropin work and thus how plants respond to light – phenomena which are fundamental to agriculture and thus our food supply.
Christel Lauterbach | idw
Selectively Reactivating Nerve Cells to Retrieve a Memory
01.06.2020 | Universität Heidelberg
CeMM study reveals how a master regulator of gene transcription operates
01.06.2020 | CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".
Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...
Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...
Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.
When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...
Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.
Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...
Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.
A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...
19.05.2020 | Event News
07.04.2020 | Event News
06.04.2020 | Event News
29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences
29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences
29.05.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering