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CSHL researchers identify gene that helps plant cells keep communication channels open
Date:2/17/2009

nced by GAT1. The CSHL scientists found that this gene encodes an enzyme called thioredoxin-m3, which they found only in the meristems, as well as in the tissues dedicated to transport. There, it acts as an antioxidant a molecule that slows or prevents the formation of ROS.

Thioredoxin-m3 is a member of a large family of small proteins that are ubiquitous in plant and animal cells, and are biochemical workhorses that meddle in multiple metabolic processes. They consequently have an impact on numerous cellular events, including stress responses, cell death, and gene expression.

In addition to protecting plants against oxidative damage, as the CSHL scientists have shown, thioredoxin-m3 and its cousins might have other specific functions in different stages of plant development in different tissues and under different physiological conditions. Knowing the diverse functions of these proteins may help in engineering plants that are drought- and heat-tolerant.

Discovering the role of thioredozin-m3 in cell-cell traffic within meristems has already provided one such pay-off. Jackson's group found that increasing the expression of GAT1 in plants caused them to take longer to produce flowers and enter senescence the period of old age. "People are generally interested in controlling senescence for commercial purposes such as growing plants that last longer or flowers that stay fresh longer," explains Jackson. "Our results suggest that manipulating GAT1 expression in plants can be one way of achieving this," he says.


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Contact: Hema Bashyam
bashyam@cshl.edu
516-367-6822
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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