Navigation Links
Researchers look at reducing yield loss for crops under stress
Date:3/30/2010

AMES, Iowa - People feel it, animals feel it, and yes, plants sense it too.

It's stress.

Plant researchers are taking a long look at stress in order to improve crop productivity, especially when faced with issues of climate change.

"Imagine what a plant goes through when it hasn't rained for over a week and it's feeling dry - its leaves are wilting," says Stephen Howell, professor of genetics, development and cell biology at Iowa State University's Plant Sciences Institute. "Add in some strong afternoon sunshine with no option to move into the shade because its roots are planted in the ground. That's stress. And the plant has got to stand there and deal with it!"

Understanding and eventually curbing crop susceptibility to certain stresses could allow for higher yields during drought years in the agricultural areas of the world. It may also allow drier areas of the planet to support sustainable yields and profitable crops, according to Howell.

Howell studies the model plant system Arabidopsis, a relative of mustard, with the long-term goal of applying discoveries to crop plants. He, along with postdoctoral researcher Jian-Xiang Liu, recently released research that outlines new features about plant stress response mechanisms in Arabidopsis. The research is highlighted in the March 5 issue of The Plant Cell.

"The system protects plants from adverse environmental conditions, but these responses slow or delay growth," explains Howell. "So there's a tradeoff."

Plants respond to different types of stress, such as salt or heat, through multifaceted molecular signaling pathways. Understanding these pathways -- identifying the key molecules and their specific roles -- provides a treasure trove of opportunity for molecular breeding approaches to enhance the ability of crop plants to survive stressful conditions without major yield loss.

Howell and his colleagues have determined how special molecular indicators stationed inside the cell, but outside the nucleus, respond when stress warning bells go off. These sensors pick up on cues that appear as misfolded proteins.

These misfolded proteins are recognized as untidy. Much like a meticulous housekeeper would realize something was wrong if he or she discovered heaps of unfolded clothes in the closet, according to Howell.

"Correct folding is very important to the function of a protein. Incorrectly folded proteins or unfolded proteins will malfunction," says Howell. "But protein folding is a very finicky process and can mess up when environmental conditions are bad, as during a period of intense heat. Under these conditions, unfolded proteins accumulate and alarm bells are set off in the plant cell."

When these alarm bells go off inside the plant cell, the sensor molecules, called molecular-associated transcription factors, are unleashed. They enter the cell's nucleus -- its command center -- and turn on specific genes that send out reinforcements to help the protein-folding process.

In the research, Howell and his colleagues reveal how these transcription factors find and activate their target genes. When coupled with a previous study from this group, the paper describes how there are actually two sets of factors involved. One set specializes in activating genes in response to salt stress. The factor in this study responds to heat stress and the accumulation of unfolded proteins. Together they help plants withstand a variety of stresses.


'/>"/>

Contact: Stephen H. Howell
shh@iastate.edu
703-292-8440
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Researchers identify proteins involved in new neurodegenerative syndrome
2. Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
3. MGH researchers describe new way to identify, evolve novel enzymes
4. University of Pennsylvania researchers develop formula to gauge risk of disease clusters
5. U of MN researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
6. U of Minnesota researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
7. Researchers discover new strategies for antibiotic resistance
8. Researchers find new taste in fruit flies: carbonated water
9. Binghamton University researchers investigate evolving malaria resistance
10. UIC researchers find promising new targets for antibiotics
11. Researchers develop simple method to create natural drug products
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Researchers look at reducing yield loss for crops under stress
(Date:4/13/2016)...  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... standard in telehealth thanks to a new partnership with ... IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health measurements, such ... and, when they opt in, share them with IMPOWER ... local retail location at no cost. By leveraging this ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... 2016 According to ... for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, Pressure, ... & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & Wearable ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market for ... USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at a ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... -- --> --> According ... "Digital Door Lock Systems Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, ... digital door lock systems market in terms of revenue was ... to grow at a CAGR of 31.8% during the period ... (MSMEs) across the world and high industrial activity driving inclusive ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... , April 29, 2016 ... Transparency Market Research "Separation Systems for Commercial Biotechnology ... Trends, and Forecast 2015 - 2023", the separation ... US$ 10,665.5 Mn in 2014 and is projected ... 2015 to 2023 to reach US$ 19,227.8 Mn ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Intelligent Implant Systems announced ... FDA via 510(k) for sale in the United States. These components expand the ... fusions. With one-level sales beginning in October of 2015, the company has seen ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 ... company reports the Company,s CEO  was featured in ... Accelerators Enter When VCs Fear To Tread: ... Leader magazine is an essential business ... everything from emerging biotechs to Big Pharmas. Their ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... As part ... top industry experts, and expanding its LATAM network and logistics capabilities. Enhancements ... to manage their clinical trial projects. , The expansion will provide unmatched clinical ...
Breaking Biology Technology: