Navigation Links
Plants 'remember' winter to bloom in spring with help of special molecule
Date:12/7/2010

AUSTIN, TexasThe role a key molecule plays in a plant's ability to remember winter, and therefore bloom in the spring, has been identified by University of Texas at Austin scientists.

Many flowering plants bloom in bursts of color in spring after long periods of cold in the winter. The timing of blooming is critical to ensure pollination, and is important for crop production and for droves of people peeping at wildflowers.

One way for the plants to recognize the springand not just a warm spell during winteris that they "remember" they've gone through a long enough period of cold.

"Plants can't literally remember, of course, because they don't have brains," says Sibum Sung, assistant professor in the Section of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology. "But they do have a cellular memory of winter, and our research provides details on how this process works."

The process is known as vernalization, whereby a plant becomes competent to flower after a period of cold. And though it is common for many plants adapted to temperate climates, including important crops like winter wheat, it has not been until the past decade or so that scientists have begun to understand the process's genetic and molecular underpinnings.

Sung and postdoctoral fellow Jae Bok Heo have now discovered that a long, non-coding RNA molecule, named COLDAIR, is required for plants to set up a memory of winter.

They published their work on the Arabidopsis plant in Science Express on Dec. 2.

This is how it works: In fall, a gene called FLC actively represses floral production. A random bloom in fall could be a waste of precious energy.

But after a plant has been exposed to 20 days of near-freezing temperatures, the scientists found that COLDAIR becomes active. It silences the FLC gene, a process that is completed after about 30 to 40 days of cold. With the FLC silenced as temperatures warm in the spring, other genes are activated that initiate blooming.

COLDAIR helps create a cellular memory for a plant, letting it know it has been through 30 or more days of cold.

But, how does the cold actually turn on COLDAIR?

"That is one of the next questions we have," says Sung. "How do plants literally sense the cold?"

Answering these kinds of basic questions could lead to crop improvements and will be important to grasp as climate changes alter the length of the winter season, with possible repercussions to vernalization in plants around the world.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Sibum Sung
sbsung@mail.utexas.edu
512-232-0867
University of Texas at Austin
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Commercial aquatic plants offer cost-effective method for treating wastewater
2. UC Riverside biochemists devise method for bypassing aluminum toxicity effects in plants
3. Reproducing early and often is the key to rapid evolution in plants
4. MSU scientists find new gene that helps plants beat the heat
5. Researchers design artificial cells that could power medical implants
6. When under attack, plants can signal microbial friends for help
7. Current mass extinction spurs major study of which plants to save
8. Scientists unveil mechanism for up and down in plants
9. New hybrid plants could prompt more prodigious pepper production in Southwest
10. Extreme weather postpones the flowering time of plants
11. Even plants benefit from outsourcing
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2016)... , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for ... biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface with integration ... modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions of the ... readers into the building installations offer considerable freedom of ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients ... a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a ... the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key ... body mass index, and, when they opt in, share ... visit to a local retail location at no cost. ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... , March 23, 2016 ... erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern ... (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein führender ... das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals ... Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , ... tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... announced the launch of the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, ... explore the future of how hardware projects are designed, built and brought to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, ... biological discoveries to the medical community, has closed its ... Matthew Nunez . "We have received ... with the capital we need to meet our current ... essentially provide us the runway to complete validation on ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Pleasant Prairie, WI (PRWEB) , ... June 23, ... ... sciences consultancy focused on quality, regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free ... webinar is presented on July 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: