Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UC Riverside Researchers Improve Drought Tolerance in Plants

20.04.2004


Reducing Enzyme Involved in Recycling Vitamin C Increases a Plant’s Responsiveness to Drought Conditions



University of California, Riverside researchers reported the development of technology that increases crop drought tolerance by decreasing the amount of an enzyme that is responsible for recycling vitamin C.

Biochemist Daniel R. Gallie, a professor of biochemistry at the University of California, Riverside together with Zhong Chen of his research group reported their findings in the May issue of The Plant Cell .


In the study, the authors reasoned that decreasing the amount of the enzyme dehydroascorbate reductase or DHAR would reduce the ability of plants to recycle vitamin C, making them more drought tolerant through improved water conservation. The researchers accomplished this by using the plant’s own gene to decrease the amount of the enzyme three fold.

Researchers used tobacco as a model for crops that are highly sensitive to drought conditions.

“However, our discovery should be applicable to most if not all crop species as the role of vitamin C is highly conserved among plants,” said Gallie.
In work published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Gallie and his research team reported that the level of vitamin C could be boosted by increasing the amount of this same enzyme.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and California Agricultural Experiment Station funded the six years of research that led to the current findings.

Vitamin C serves as an important antioxidant in plants as it does in humans and among its many functions in both, it destroys reactive oxygen species that can otherwise damage or even kill cells. “Once used, vitamin C must be regenerated otherwise it is irrevocably lost. The enzyme dehydroascorbate reductase, or DHAR, plays a critical role in this recycling process,” explained Gallie.

Reactive oxygen species are produced in plants typically following exposure to environmental conditions such as drought, cold, or air pollution. Plants sense drought conditions by the buildup in reactive oxygen species and then respond by reducing the amount of water that escapes from their leaves. Reducing the amount of DHAR decreases the ability of the plant to recycle vitamin C, thus reducing the ability to eliminate the buildup in reactive oxygen species that occurs with the onset of a drought.

“This reduction in vitamin C recycling causes plants to be highly responsive to dry growth conditions by reducing the rate of water that escapes from their leaves. Thus, they are better able to grow with less water and survive a drought,” said Gallie.

“Through use of this technology, we are helping crops to conserve water resources. In a way, we are assisting them to be better water managers, which is important for crops growing in areas that can experience erratic rainfall,” he added. “This discovery will assist farmers who depend on rainwater for their crops during those years when rainfall is low. It will also assist farmers who irrigate their crops to conserve water, which is important in a state like California where rapid population growth continues to increase the demand on this scare resource. Finally, this discovery should help farmers who grow crops in arid areas, such as exists in many third-world countries.”

The onset of global warming is another development that adds impact to Gallie’s research findings. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Web site states that the Earth’s surface temperature has risen by about one degree Fahrenheit in the past century, with most of the warming occurring during the past two decades. The EPA suggests that most of the warming over the last 50 years can be attributed to human activities, but cautions that uncertainties remain about exactly how earth’s climate is responding.

“Increasing drought tolerance in crops is highly valuable to U.S. and world agriculture now and will be even more critical as our environment continues to change as a consequence of global warming,” said Gallie.

Ricardo Duran | UC Riverside
Further information:
http://www.newsroom.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/display.cgi?id=781

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>