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First comprehensive library of master genetic switches in plants
Date:7/17/2014

eft for an assistant professorship at the University of Texas, in Houston, Pruneda-Paz completed the project. To create the library, the team received grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other grants for a total of approximately $5 million.

Pruneda-Paz and Kay finished the project at UCSD and USC, where they were aided by a robotic platform that can conduct thousands of experiments per day.

"So the goal behind this was to build something that can be the foundation of many other projects," Breton said, adding that already 70 research projects in the U.S. and Europe have resulted from the library. "It will not only be used for circadian clock research, but for many other plant biology projects in the future."

One study made possible by the library was published in Current Biology on July 7. In the research, Kay's laboratory learned how plants regulate their gene expression in the cold. Using the library, they conducted tests isolating an interaction between two key genes LUX and CBF1 now known to be responsible for freezing tolerance in plants.

The research showed how plants adapt to temperature changes during the normal course of the day-night cycle, and to extreme temperature change such as frost.

"We had very little idea how cold intersected with the clock and this really reinforced the idea that transcriptional regulation is key," said first author on the Current Biology study Brenda Chow, a research associate in Kay's lab who will soon start a position at GenBank, a genetic sequence database in Bethesda, Maryland.

"The library has been very useful across the plant community," Chow said. "Specifically for my project, it was a unique way to identify the interaction between CBF1 and LUX. It would have been very difficult to identify this any other way."


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Contact: Suzanne Wu
suzanne.wu@usc.edu
213-740-0252
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

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