Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'Speechless' and 'Mute' help break the silence of the leaves

23.01.2007
Researchers have discovered two genes that guide land plants to develop microscopic pores that they can open and close as if each pore was a tiny mouth.

Plants wouldn't have been able to move from water to land 400 million years ago if they hadn't evolved this ability, which protects them from losing too much moisture.

The leaves and stems of land plants are dotted with the "tiny mouths," called stomata. When open, stomata allow the plant to take in carbon dioxide gas needed for photosynthesis and allow moisture to evaporate, pulling water from the roots into the plant. But when too much moisture is being lost, the two cells around the stomatal pore close it completely.

Without the genes guiding stomatal development, plants won't develop any mouthlike pores, hence the names Speechless and Mute for the newly discovered genes, according to Keiko Torii, a University of Washington associate professor of biology.

... more about:
»Mute »Speechless »stomata

Two separate papers on the genes, one by Torii's UW group and the other by Stanford University researchers, have been published online by Nature, and are scheduled to appear in the print publication Feb. 1. Each group describes independently finding the gene that came to be called Speechless and its role in initiating the process that leads to stomata.

In addition, Torii's UW group published findings in its Nature article about another gene, one they named Mute, that triggers the key middle step that decides when a cell will fully become a stomata. Earlier this year the Stanford group published findings about the gene that controls the final step in stomata development, called Fama.

"In the last few months, we've gone from knowing surprisingly little about the genes involved to knowing all three major factors – Speechless, Mute and Fama," says Lynn Pillitteri, a research associate in biology and lead author of the Nature paper.

That the three are so closely related will be of interest to biologists studying both plants and animals, she says. Each is a basic protein with a helix-loop-helix domain, a sequence that is quite ancient and controls a vast range of physiological and developmental processes. Speechless, Mute and Fama also have very similar DNA sequences and could have arisen from a single gene that replicated and evolved, giving plants additional genes with slightly different characteristics.

Having two or three genes with similar characteristics would give plants what Torii terms "the freedom to play, to make functions that are the more elaborate stomata in modern plants."

Other biologists have seen something similar in animals. The ability to differentiate cells that become muscles also is controlled by consecutive action of basic helix-loop-helix proteins with DNA closely related to each other.

Molecular conservation of such key regulatory genes between plants and animals – genes that switch on and off cell-type differentiation programs from precursor stem cells – is intriguing and exciting, Torii says.

Sandra Hines | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.washington.edu

Further reports about: Mute Speechless stomata

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New way to look at cell membranes could change the way we study disease
19.11.2018 | University of Oxford

nachricht Controlling organ growth with light
19.11.2018 | European Molecular Biology Laboratory

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New materials: Growing polymer pelts

19.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Earthquake researchers finalists for supercomputing prize

19.11.2018 | Information Technology

Controlling organ growth with light

19.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>