Navigation Links
How to build crops that can beat aluminum's toxic effects
Date:10/3/2008

Researchers may have found the key to engineering plants capable of thriving in environments laden with toxic aluminum, according to a report published online on October 2nd in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. Aluminum (Al)a metal that is generally plentiful in the earth's crustcauses particular problems for farmers in South America, Africa, and Indonesia, where acidic environments turn the metal into a form that stunts the growth of plants and especially plant roots.

" We found that a single change in one plant factor required for monitoring of and response to DNA damage results in a profound increase in Al tolerance," said Paul Larsen of the University of California-Riverside.

That discovery was unexpected, he said, because scientists had believed Al could have a wide range of detrimental effects, binding to virtually any negatively charged molecule within cells. If that were true, getting around Al toxicity would be no easy task since any single change in plants would result in only incremental increases in Al tolerance.

" Surprisingly, we found that elimination of just one factor results in a mutant root that can now thrive in an Al toxic environment," Larsen said. The critical factor, known as AtATR, serves as a "checkpoint" for cell division, he explained. Its job is to assess whether a cell should divide or not, on the basis of the integrity of the cell's DNA. "Mutations that disrupt the function of AtATR effectively destroy this self-assessment activity and allow cells that otherwise would be forced to differentiate [into mature plant tissue] to continue dividing."

The results present a new view of the causes of Al toxicity. Rather than suffering from the metal's cumulative toxic effects as had been believed, it appears Al itself triggers the AtATR-controlled self-assessment pathway to shut down growth.

The findings made in the model plant Arabidopsis offer "readymade" tools for genetically engineering crop plants incapable of restricting root growth in response to Al toxicity, Larsen said. He anticipates that introduction of the mutant versions of AtATR into crop plants would override the existing assessment mechanisms and allow for continued cell division in soils that would normally inhibit root growth.

The new results may offer insight into Al toxicity not only in economically important agricultural crops, but also in animals, given that ATR genes are universally found in plants and animals, where they serve in various capacities related to DNA-damage assessment.

" To date, no one has been able to discern which targets of Al are critical to the manifestation of Al toxicity in either plant or animals, partly due to the predicted complexity of Al toxicity," he said. "This work clearly argues that DNA damage and response to this damage is paramount."


'/>"/>

Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. KAUST and IBM to build 1 of the fastest and most powerful supercomputers
2. Laminin builds the neuromuscular synapse
3. Building a stronger roof over your head: 3 little pigs project begins first tests
4. Pesticide build-up could lead to poor honey bee health
5. Caltech engineers build mini drug-producing biofactories in yeast
6. Green roofs differ in building cooling, water handling capabilities
7. Building bridges between the clinic and the laboratory
8. Tips on how to build a better home for biological parts
9. 1/3 of reef-building corals face extinction
10. NJIT architect professor advocates best-building practices for high wind regions
11. How to build a plant
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/11/2016)... , March 11, 2016 ... new market research report "Image Recognition Market by Technology ... (Marketing and Advertising), by Deployment Type (On-Premises and Cloud), ... To 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global market is ... to USD 29.98 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... March 9, 2016 Nigeria ... that more than 23,000 public service employees either did ... receiving their salary unlawfully.    --> ... identified that more than 23,000 public service employees either ... been receiving their salary unlawfully.    --> ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... Calif. , March 3, 2016  2016FLEX, ... launched this week highlighting advancements in flexible, hybrid ... a record setting attendance - have gathered for ... this fast-growing field of electronics. The Flex Conference ... focal point for companies, R&D organizations, and universities ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Dr. Thomas ... surgeon in The Woodlands, Texas , ... 24 percent of treated fat cells in just 25-minutes, ... Close to 90 percent of Americans report feeling bothered ... Nonsurgical fat reduction procedures are a growing industry. This ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... 2016 Q BioMed Inc. (QBIO), ... Mannin Research Inc. will be attending the Association for ... from May 1-5, 2016 in Seattle Washington ... its vendors and research partners. The meeting provides organizations ... other collaborative opportunities for the MAN-01 program for treatment ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... F.E.E.D. ... pre-launch success of their revolutionary, veterinarian-designed product for indoor cats. The NoBowl Feeding ... play with their food the way nature intended. NoBowls make cats happy and ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Amendia, Inc., a leading designer, developer, manufacturer ... completion of a significant transaction and partnership that positions Amendia for accelerated growth ... Kohlberg & Company, L.L.C. (“Kohlberg”), a leading private equity firm specializing in middle ...
Breaking Biology Technology: