Navigation Links
Roses are red -- why some petunias are blue
Date:1/2/2014

Researchers have uncovered the secret recipe to making some petunias such a rare shade of blue. The findings may help to explain and manipulate the color of other ornamental flowers, not to mention the taste of fruits and wine, say researchers who report their findings in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on January 2nd. From the flowers' point of view, the findings also have important implications, since blue petals instead of red might spell disaster when it comes to attracting pollinators.

The key discovery is a kind of cellular pump that was previously unknown in plants. When that pump fails to work properly, as it does in some petunias, the flower petals can't acidify special compartments within their cells. As a result, those petals turn blue instead of red or violet much like the litmus paper many of us will recall from chemistry class.

"Blue flower colors have been enigmatic for a long time and the blue rose appears in many myths, legends, and even operas," said Francesca Quattrocchio of the VU-University in Amsterdam. "Already in the 1910s it was proposed that blue flower colors were caused by reduced acidity of the 'cell sap.' Others figured that drastic changes in the cell sap might cause terrible deleterious defects, and proposed that blue flower colors had something to do with the formation of metal-anthocyanin complexes. Our current opinion is that both got it right."

Still, no one really knew how it worked. Scientists discovered one type of proton pump in the 1980s. "Over the decades, the idea took hold that all H+ transport across internal membranes is driven by those v-ATPases," Ronald Koes of VU-University in the Netherlands explained. Not so, the new work shows.

In most cells, there are but modest differences in pH between the insides and the outsides of intracellular compartments or vacuoles. Petals, by comparison, can show much steeper pH gradients. Scientists also knew that the differences in pH between blue petunia petals and red ones were somehow connected to a handful of so-called PH genes.

Quattrocchio and Koes now find that those genes encode a proton-pumping pathway that allows petal cells, and perhaps other cells as well, to hyperacidify particular compartments. The pump is composed of two distinct proteins, which together keep on going and building acidity even when other pumps would stop. Blue petunias are blue because of genetic defects that leave that special pumping system out of order.

"By studying the difference between blue and red flowers of petunias, we have discovered a novel type of transporter able to strongly acidify the inside of the vacuole," Quattrocchio said.

Now they have the tools to isolate plant varieties with different acidification levels in their vacuoles, she added, and that could prove very fruitful indeed when it comes to generating new colors in valuable flowers or new tastes in fruits, wines, and juices. The researchers say those more acidic vacuoles and the pumps that make them possible might even be exploited as reservoirs for storing toxic compounds, such as metals and salts.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mary Beth O'Leary
moleary@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. The absence of elephants and rhinoceroses reduces biodiversity in tropical forests
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Roses are red -- why some petunias are blue
(Date:4/5/2017)... -- KEY FINDINGS The global market for ... of 25.76% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. The ... the growth of the stem cell market. ... INSIGHTS The global stem cell market is segmented on ... stem cell market of the product is segmented into ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... 2017  Data captured by IsoCode, IsoPlexis ... a statistically significant association between the potency ... and objective response of cancer patients post-treatment. ... whether cancer patients will respond to CAR-T ... as to improve both pre-infusion potency testing and ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) ... ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching technology, pushing contactless ... use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security of access and ... ... A research team led by Dr Ajay Kumar ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/26/2017)... Kong (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2017 , ... ... hosted in EMEA and North America this May on ... May 16-18 , Donald H. Taylor, Chairman of the Learning and Performance Institute ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... Franz Inc ... (CL) development tools, and market leader for Semantic Graph Database technology, ... available within the most effective system for developing and deploying applications to solve ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... ... Partners.     , Covalent’s Analytical Services unit provides high-quality data to clients, ... within 24 hours of receipt. There are no price premiums, and customers are ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... ... manufactures in 10 categories with over 30 nominees and well as the first-year ... the new award and the event was hosted by CompanyWeek and Manufacturers Edge, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: