Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plant Sex Protein Identified at UC Riverside

11.12.2003



Discovery Shapes Understanding of how Seeds are Created

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have identified a protein that helps guide sperm to egg in flowering lily plants, a significant step forward in the field of plant reproduction.

Elizabeth Lord, professor of plant biology and a member of the Center for Plant Cell Biology at UC Riverside, authored the paper titled “Chemocyanin, a Small, Basic Protein from the Lily Stigma Induces Pollen Tube Chemotropism.” The paper appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.



Botanists have long known that, in flowering plants, the female organs play a role in guiding sperm-laden pollen tubes to the eggs found in ovules. But until now, they did not know exactly how. Lord’s team found that chemocyanin, a protein with a previously unknown function, effectively guided sperm-laden lily pollen tubes to the plant’s ovules, which hold the eggs from which come seeds in the lily. The protein works specifically in lilies. Tobacco pollen tubes were not similarly guided.

The paper also shows that chemocyanin was more effective when another protein found in the stigma of the lily, SCA, was present. Chemocyanin and other proteins such as SCA may unlock the network of signals involved in plant reproduction.

“The importance of understanding how plants reproduce is enormous for the future manipulation of crop and nursery plants,” said Lord. “There is a huge flower industry in California, and we know little about how seed set occurs in most flowering plants.”

Lilies are good examples because they cannot produce seed with their own pollen so they must be cross-pollinated with another variety, according to Lord. And while the industry grows Easter lilies from bulbs not seed, whenever they want to produce new varieties for the flower market or for gardens they have to produce seed by crossing varieties.

“This research has relevance for all flowering plants because we do not know yet how pollen tubes, which carry sperm cells, are guided to the egg cell in the ovary,” said Lord. “Our discovery of a protein from the pistil which acts to guide pollen tubes to the egg cell is a first for flowering plants.”

The protein, chemocyanin, is concentrated on the flower stigma, where pollen grains land on the flower. The pollen grains germinate on the stigma to form pollen tubes, which carry sperm cells, then pass through the female tissues starting from the stigma, ending up in the ovary, which contain ovules that contain eggs.

“You would be surprised to know that we don’t even know the identity of the molecules that attract human sperm cells to the egg,” Lord added.

Lord’s research team at UC Riverside included doctoral students Sunran Kim and Juan Dong; postgraduate researchers Jean-Claude Mollet and Sang-Youl Park; and academic coordinator in the Department of Chemistry, Kangling Zhang.

Ricardo Duran | UC Riverside
Further information:
http://www.newsroom.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/display.cgi?id=710
http://www.ucr.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Microbes can grow on nitric oxide (NO)
18.03.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Novel methods for analyzing neural circuits for innate behaviors in insects
15.03.2019 | Kanazawa 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: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

Im Focus: Sussex scientists one step closer to a clock that could replace GPS and Galileo

Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock

Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...

Im Focus: Sensing shakes

A new way to sense earthquakes could help improve early warning systems

Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell...

Im Focus: A thermo-sensor for magnetic bits

New concept for energy-efficient data processing technology

Scientists of the Department of Physics at the University of Hamburg, Germany, detected the magnetic states of atoms on a surface using only heat. The...

Im Focus: The moiré patterns of three layers change the electronic properties of graphene

Combining an atomically thin graphene and a boron nitride layer at a slightly rotated angle changes their electrical properties. Physicists at the University of Basel have now shown for the first time the combination with a third layer can result in new material properties also in a three-layer sandwich of carbon and boron nitride. This significantly increases the number of potential synthetic materials, report the researchers in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Last year, researchers in the US caused a big stir when they showed that rotating two stacked graphene layers by a “magical” angle of 1.1 degrees turns...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers measure near-perfect performance in low-cost semiconductors

18.03.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Nanocrystal 'factory' could revolutionize quantum dot manufacturing

18.03.2019 | Materials Sciences

Long-distance quantum information exchange -- success at the nanoscale

18.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>