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Carnegie donates landmark clones to biology
Date:8/6/2009

Palo Alto, CAWith the information explosion, it's remarkable that so little is known about the interactions that proteins have with each other and the protective membrane that surrounds a cell. These interactive, so-called membrane proteins regulate nutrients and water fluxes, sense environmental threats, and are the communications interface with neighboring cells and within the cell. Now with National Science Foundation funding, researchers at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Plant Biology have cloned genes to produce membrane proteins that may initiate the instructions for genes to turn on in the nucleus. They just donated 2010 of the clones for genes that function in the cell's interaction with its environment to the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center (ABRC is at Ohio State University) for other scientists to use to help advance fields from medicine to farming. These genes are now used to unravel the interaction of the membrane proteins amongst each other.

Recent research at the Carnegie department has shown that cells across different species use the same mechanism at the cell membrane to regulate the uptake of the vital nutrient nitrogen. Previous Carnegie work indicated that plants have a novel regulatory mechanism that controls nutrient uptakeneighboring pore-like structures at a plant cell's surface physically interact to control the uptake. "Since plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi all share similar genes for this activity, we wanted to see in this study if same feature could occur across species," remarked Dominique Loqu lead author of a study published in the July 6, Journal of Biological Chemistry.

In the previous work, the scientists looked at the end of the protein Arabidopsis ammonium transporter (AMT1;1). This protein portion is called the C-terminus and it regulates the interactions of the pore-like structures at the membrane surface in plants. In this study they focused on the underlying mechanism
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Contact: Wolf Frommer
wfrommer@ciw.edu
650-325-1521
Carnegie Institution
Source:Eurekalert

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