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:5/12/2016)... WearablesResearch.com , a brand of Troubadour Research & ... Q1 wave of its quarterly wearables survey. A particular ... a program where they would receive discounts for sharing ... "We were surprised to see that so many ... CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily because there are segments ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... India , April 28, 2016 ... Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, a ... that will provide end customers with a more secure, ... services.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ) , ... services, but it also plays a fundamental part in enabling ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ,     ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics market ... the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is ... as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... HOUSTON , June 23, 2016 ... agreement with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve ... of the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide ... education and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes ... partner with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June, 23, 2016  The ... students to envision new ways to harness living systems ... of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York ... more than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s ... included Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today announced that Dr. ... STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am thrilled that Dr. ... STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, Hays brings a ...
(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 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: