Navigation Links
Second plant pathway could improve nutrition, biofuel production
Date:3/31/2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University scientists have defined a hidden second option plants have for making an essential amino acid that could be the first step in boosting plants' nutritional value and improving biofuel production potential.

The amino acid phenylalanine is required to build proteins and is a precursor for more than 8,000 other compounds essential to plants, including lignin, which allows plants to stand upright but acts as a barrier in the production of cellulosic ethanol.

It had been believed that plants could use two pathways to create phenylalanine. Natalia Dudareva, a professor of horticulture, and Hiroshi Maeda, a postdoctoral researcher in Dudareva's laboratory, have confirmed that while plants predominantly use one pathway, they have another at their disposal. The existence of this second pathway might one day allow scientists to increase a plant's production of the essential amino acid. Their research was published in the early online version of the journal Plant Cell.

"That would allow us to increase the nutritional value of some food," Maeda said. "But also by increasing these compounds, the plants would be better able to protect themselves from changes in the environment."

Maeda added that reducing phenylalanine could lead to a reduction of lignin in plants, which would improve digestibility of cellulosic materials for ethanol production.

Phenylalanine is one of the few essential amino acids that humans and animals cannot synthesize, so it must come from plants. It is produced when sugars enter a plant's shikimate pathway, which creates a link between the processing of sugars and the generation of aromatic compounds. The next steps had not been known until now, and were thought to involve one of two proposed routes - the phenylpyruvate or arogenate pathways.

Dudareva and Maeda found a gene responsible for phenylalanine production, and suppression of the gene expression knocked out 80 percent of the phenylalanine content in petunias. The hypothesis was that the gene suppression would act like a clogged pipe, creating an abundance of compounds that would have later become phenylalanine in a normal plant.

But that's not what happened.

"These plants knew that the last step of phenylalanine production was down and slowed the first steps," Dudareva said.

Maeda said the plant created some sort of feedback mechanism that slowed down the entry point of the shikimate pathway.

Dudareva and Maeda wanted to see what would happen if they forced the shikimate pathway to function, so they gave the petunias shikimic acid. The plants were flooded with the upstream compounds as expected, but since they could not use the usual arogenate pathway to convert them to phenylalanine, they used another path that scientists had only theorized existed.

"What this tells us is this other pathway could be active under certain conditions," Dudareva said.

Understanding how the pathways work is a first step in finding ways to increase phenylalanine for boosting nutritional values of foods, or decreasing it, which may help in biofuel production.

Dudareva and Maeda will next try to determine how the plant creates feedback to the shikimate pathway. Disrupting that feedback could lead to an abundant production of phenylalanine in plants. The National Science Foundation funded the research.


'/>"/>

Contact: Brian Wallheimer
bwallhei@purdue.edu
765-496-2050
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. NTU and Lien Foundation launch second second wave of Environmental Endeavor
2. Measuring protein movements with nanosecond resolution
3. The AACR to host second cancer research conference in Jordan
4. A second hydrocarbon boom threatens the Peruvian Amazon
5. Pacific Biomarkers, Inc. Schedules Second Quarter Conference Call for Friday, February 12, 2010
6. Oral COTI-2 is effective in a second animal model of human pancreatic cancer
7. Secondhand smoke exposure in childhood increases lung cancer risk later in life
8. Exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke over a lifetime increased breast cancer risk later in life
9. A second skin
10. Study in Spain and Romania confirms radon as second leading cause of lung cancer
11. Second-hand smoking results in liver disease, study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... April 11, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... company, announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin ... its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and ... Gino Pereira ... look forward to their guidance and benefiting from their considerable ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... -- The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces the ... and dynamic digital window into the human cell. The ... of deep learning to create predictive models of cell ... growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell Explorer ... available resources created and shared by the Allen Institute ...
(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 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Vilnius, Lithuania, announced today that they have entered into a multiyear collaboration to ... provide CRISPR researchers with additional tools for gene editing across all applications. , ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Surgical Wound Market with the addition of its newest module, US Hemostats & ... market for thrombin hemostats, absorbable hemostats, fibrin sealants, synthetic sealants and biologic sealants ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, ... ... ) has launched Rosalindâ„¢, the first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically designed for ... complexity. Named in honor of pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... The CRISPR-Cas9 ... enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding the use of exogenous expression plasmids. The simplicity ... for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. , This complement to loss-of-function studies, such ...
Breaking Biology Technology: