Navigation Links
University of Missouri researcher study provides insight into how corn makes hormones
Date:3/7/2011

Columbia, MO -- It's a corn plant only a geneticist could love, but an MU researcher has found a way to help scientists love it.

Instead of the characteristic fan-like tassel that waves majestically atop the stalk, this corn plant sends up a cartoonishly skinny stick. Its ears -- if it makes them at all -- resemble small, chubby, lime-green caterpillars, not exactly something you want to dig your teeth into. To top it off, the corn plant stands only about three feet tall, at full maturity, and has few leaves.

"A farmer would say this corn plant looks terrible," said Paula McSteen, associate professor of biological sciences at MU and lead investigator of the study. "For me, the idea is that if the plant looks that terrible, the missing gene must control a really important process."

By using a positional cloning technique and molecular markers, McSteen and her colleagues were able to pinpoint the absent gene, which they named vanishing tassel2 or vt2. The gene encodes an enzyme, called tryptophan aminotransferase, important for making auxin, an important growth hormone in plants.

"We know that auxin is critical for determining where cell division and expansion are going to happen to make new organs," said McSteen. "Where auxin is made tells the plant where organs, such as ears, tassels, and leaves, are going to grow."

The researchers confirmed that the corn plants lacking the vt2 gene do produce low levels of the hormone.

The study is part of a larger effort by McSteen to understand the role auxin plays in organogenesis -- the formation of specific organs in plants -- and to shed light on the largely unknown molecular mechanism that fuels auxin's production in plants. In previous work, McSteen discovered another gene, sparse inflorescence1 or spi1, also involved in making auxin in corn.

Previous genetic research in the model plant Arabidopsis suggested that genes similar to both spi1 and vt2 act independently of each other to produce the hormone. However, corn plants missing both genes do not have less auxin than plants missing only the newly discovered vt2 gene.

"The lack of an additive effect suggests the spi1 and vt2 genes work together, instead of independently, to make auxin in corn," McSteen said. "This is the first evidence these genes are in the same biosynthesis pathway."

Results from the study shed new light on how auxin is synthesized in plants, which despite over a century of research, remains largely unknown.


'/>"/>

Contact: Melody Kroll
KrollMM@missouri.edu
573-884-4144
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Rice University establishes National Corrosion Center
2. Case Western Reserve University researchers track Chernobyl fallout
3. Case Western Reserve University project ties soil conservation and river management together
4. Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital expand national childrens study to Bristol County
5. NIH selects Case Western Reserve University to participate in National Childrens Study
6. US Senate confirms Clemson University engineering Dean Esin Gulari to National Science Board
7. University professor stresses links between US Navy sonar and whale strandings
8. Scent on demand: Hebrew University scientists enhance the scent of flowers
9. University success at national engineering awards
10. University of Leicester professor adds new perspective to rainforest debate
11. Providing toilets, safe water is top route to reducing world poverty: UN University
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/28/2016)... (NASDAQ: SYNA ), a leading developer of human interface solutions, ... 2015. --> --> Net ... compared to the comparable quarter last year to $470.5 million. Net ... or $0.93 per diluted share. --> ... fiscal 2016 grew 9 percent over the prior year period to ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... Jan. 22, 2016 ... of the "Global Biometrics Market in ... offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/p74whf/global_biometrics ) ... "Global Biometrics Market in Retail Sector 2016-2020" ... --> Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/p74whf/global_biometrics ...
(Date:1/18/2016)... 2016  Extenua Inc., a pioneering developer of ... and access of ubiquitous on-premise and cloud storage, today ... Cyber.  ... C4ISR and Cyber initiatives in support of National ... technology solutions," said Steve Visconti , Extenua ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... ... With a presidential election in November and the future of U.S. healthcare ... 500 top healthcare leaders for a night and day of debates and discussions about ... of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, will be held February 18 – 19, ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... Date ... S. Blumberg Institute at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County, 3805 Old ... Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) will hold an open house for participants to learn ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... Clinovo , the cloud-based ... Electronic Data Capture (EDC) system ClinCaptureand its new Contract Research Organization (CRO) Partner ... Conference in San Mateo, California on February 10th and 11th. Watch 2-min ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... The American Academy of Thermology ... offering its 2016 AAT Member Certification Qualification Course for Technicians via a two part ... which will include a detailed review of hardware, software, and camera setup/operations, aligns with ...
Breaking Biology Technology: