Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New "Knockout" Map Helps Study Gene Functions in Model Plant

01.08.2003


The image displays a single Arabidopsis mutant line from the Salk Institute insertion mutant collection/database. The location of the Agrobactrium T-DNA insertion is known from sequencing of The image displays a single Arabidopsis mutant line from the Salk Institute insertion mutant collection/database. The location of the Agrobactrium T-DNA insertion is known from sequencing of the genome.
Credit: Kent Schnoeker, The Salk Institute


The image depicts the locations of Agrobacterium T-DNA insertions (triangles) in a small segment of one Arabidopsis chromosome. The locations of individual predicted genes (top line) and the transcription units (bottom line) are indicated by the multi-colored boxes.
Credit: Huaming Chen/Joseph Ecker


Scientists have inactivated almost three-quarters of all genes in the genome of Arabidopsis thaliana, a species widely used in plant research. The feat, which results in the largest so-called "knockout" gene collection of a complex multi-cellular organism, now allows researchers to study the function of each of those genes individually or together.

The findings, published in the August 1 issue of the journal Science, mark an important milestone in the field of plant genomics. Following the release of the Arabidopsis genome sequence in 2000, the National Science Foundation (NSF) jump started the next phase of plant genome research, instituting the Arabidopsis 2010 Project to determine the location and function of each and every Arabidopsis gene by the year 2010. Knowing the function of all the genes in this model plant will aide scientists immensely in their work to improve disease resistance, control how quickly or slowly fruit will ripen, and create healthier and improved crops.

Joe Ecker at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and his research team created knockouts, or inactivating mutations, in 21,700 of the estimated 29,454 Arabidopsis genes. Knocking out a gene or group of genes allows scientists to observe what goes wrong in the mutant plant and determine what function the inactivated gene(s) had in the plant system.



"This project provides a resource that is essential for understanding the function of genes - mutants in which individual genes have been inactivated," says Parag Chitnis, program officer in the NSF’s Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences. "Because the expression of hundreds of genes can change in a single condition…, large complete collections of stable mutations are becoming an important tool for whole genome function and evolutionary biology," the report further emphasizes.

History was made in December of 2000 when the Arabidopsis research community released the complete sequence of the mustard family weed. Yet the exact location and function of the nearly 29,500 Arabidopsis genes remained unknown. Using the plant’s genome sequence in conjunction with new technologies in the field, the Salk team identified the precise locations of more than 88,000 mutations they made in the Arabidopsis genome. That advance nearly completes a key step in the 2010 project. But before the function of all Arabidopsis genes can be determined, a knockout mutant plant must be created for every single gene in the plant’s genome.

To create a gene knockout, scientists use a bacterium called Agrobacterium to insert a code that tells a specific gene to turn off. According to Ecker, this process of T-DNA integration has been carried out for well over 25 years, but this study provides a new perspective on using the technique to analyze gene function.

Some genes, it turns out, contain certain features that mark them as favored targets of inactivation. Additionally, Ecker and his colleagues have discovered that fewer inactivations occur near the centromeres -- the thinner gene-poor regions of the chromosome. "These results provide significant new information in both the areas of functional genomics and basic plant biology," says Ecker.

Because Arabidopsis is a model plant, knowledge gained from this plant can be applied to many other plants as well. Ecker is optimistic about the progress of this project. "The information you get from Arabidopsis is very likely to be immediately applicable to all plants. The information that we produce will be used by a range of people to improve plant growth, yield, and drought tolerance."

The database of Arabidopsis gene knockouts completed thus far is available to the public, as are all corresponding strains of mutant plants created by the research team, which includes scientists from the Salk Institute, the NRC Plant Biotechnology Institute, and UC San Diego. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation Arabidopsis 2010 Project and the Department of Energy.

Principal Investigator: Joseph Ecker, +1-858-453-4100 ext.1752, ecker@salk.edu

Andrea Spiker | National Science Foundation
Further information:
http://signal.salk.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht O2 stable hydrogenases for applications
23.07.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Energiekonversion

nachricht Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Detecting damage in non-magnetic steel with the help of magnetism

23.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Researchers move closer to completely optical artificial neural network

23.07.2018 | Information Technology

Enabling technology in cell-based therapies: Scale-up, scale-out or program in-place

23.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>