Navigation Links
Missing piece of plant clock found

Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have identified a key protein that links the morning and evening components of the daily biological clock of plants.

Their discovery, detailed in the March 13 issue of Science, solves a longstanding puzzle about the underlying biochemical mechanisms that control plant clocks and could provide a new way to increase the growth and yield of agricultural crops.

The finding is the first outcome of a larger effort to assemble a complete library of all proteins called transcription factors, which regulate genes, in Arabidopsis, a plant often used as a genetic model.

Scientists previously had identified two primary feedback loops in the plant daily clock one that detects the onset of light in the morning and another that tracks when light fades in the evening.

"The best way to construct a robust clock would be to connect the loops so that they both communicate that information to each other," said Steve Kay, dean of the Division of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego whose research team made the discovery. "Now a protein we call CHE has provided that link."

CHE, first predicted nearly a decade ago, has proved difficult to find. Multiple backup systems for many important functions in plants, including timekeeping, frustrate efforts to identify the function of an individual molecule or gene.

"In plants there are a lot of redundancies proteins that do similar things," said Jose Pruneda-Paz, a postdoctoral fellow at UC San Diego and the first author of the study. "In the clock, on top of the redundancies, you have feedback loops that are interconnected. So it's difficult to perturb the system."

Disrupting a protein will fail to reveal its function if the system can compensate for its loss, so the team took a different approach. They sorted through proteins with the ability to bind to DNA, and therefore to regulate genes, and selected candidates mostly likely to be part of a clock: the ones that cycle between abundant and scarce.

Of those cyclical proteins, only CHE stuck specifically to the part of plant DNA that controls a critical component of the morning loop. Further experiments demonstrated that CHE also binds to an evening loop protein providing the missing link.

Pruneda-Paz and his co-authors "solve a major puzzle in our understanding of the plant clock," wrote C. Robertson McClung, professor of biology at Dartmouth College, in a commentary on the article that will appear in the same issue of Science.

Evidence increasingly points to the clock as a critical component of functions growth and the timing of flowering. A recent paper published in Nature by a group at the University of Texas, Austin reports that an altered clock contributes to hybrid vigor, suggesting that targeting clock genes may be a way to improve the growth of crops. "It's going to be a way to come up with rational design for increasing yield in the field," Kay said.

Kay expects the growing catalog of transcription factors to be completed by the end of the year with more than 2,000 entries, he said. "This is going to be a significant resource for the plant science community developed here at UC San Diego."


Contact: Susan Brown
University of California - San Diego

Related biology news :

1. Missing genes link to psoriasis
2. Missing: 2,000 elephants
3. 1 missing gene leads to fruitless mating rituals
4. Oldest Australian crayfish fossils provide missing evolutionary link
5. Scientists find missing evolutionary link using tiny fungus crystal
6. Researchers solve piece of large-scale gene silencing mystery
7. Hopkins researchers piece together gene network linked to schizophrenia
8. Iowa State researchers help piece together the corn genomes first draft
9. Researchers uncover new piece to the puzzle of human height
10. No consistent advantage for planting soybean early
11. Novel electric signals in plants
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Missing piece of plant clock found
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015 Today, ... a partnership with 2XU, a global leader in ... a smart hat with advanced bio-sensing technology. The ... athletes to monitor key biometrics to improve overall ... partnership, the two companies will bring together the most ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... adds Biometrics Market Shares, Strategies ... well as Emerging Biometrics Technologies: Global ... its collection of IT and Telecommunications ... --> . ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... GOLETA, California , October 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) announce a mobile plug and play ... during interactive real-world tasks SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) ... their established wearable solutions for eye tracking and physiological ... captured with SMI Eye Tracking Glasses 2w ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... - ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: PLI) (OTCQX: PFSCF) ("ProMetic" ... , President and Chief Executive Officer of ProMetic, will be ... th Annual Healthcare Conference to be held at the ... st , at 8.50am (ET) and ProMetic,s management team ... presentation will be available live via a webcast accessible at ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 HemoShear Therapeutics, LLC, a privately ... metabolic disorders, announced today the appointment of ... Directors (BOD). Mr. Watkins is the former president ... (HGS), and also served as the chairman of ... , Chairman and CEO of HemoShear Therapeutics. "The ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... NEW YORK , November 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Bristol-Myers Squibb in a European ... Company in which the companies will work closely together ... other areas of unmet medical need. The collaboration is underpinned ... the latest LSP fund. This is the first investment by ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... According to two new studies, fewer men are ... that many doctors, scientists, and public health experts have been ... PSA tests being done, will there be more men dying ... Samadi, "Despite the efforts made in regards to early ... cancer cause of death in men, killing approximately 27,500 men ...
Breaking Biology Technology: