Navigation Links
What makes a plant a plant?
Date:6/15/2011

Palo Alto, CA Although scientists have been able to sequence the genomes of many organisms, they still lack a context for associating the proteins encoded in genes with specific biological processes. To better understand the genetics underlying plant physiology and ecologyespecially in regard to photosynthesisa team of researchers including Carnegie's Arthur Grossman identified a list of proteins encoded in the genomes of plants and green algae, but not in the genomes of organisms that don't generate energy through photosynthesis. Their work will be published June 17 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Using advanced computational tools to analyze the genomes of 28 different plants and photosynthetic organisms, Grossman and his colleagues at the University of California in Los Angeles and the Joint Genome Institute of the Department of Energy were able to identify 597 proteins encoded on plant and green algal genomes, but that are not present in non-photosynthetic organisms. They call this suite of proteins the GreenCut.

Interestingly, of the 597 GreenCut proteins, 286 have known functions, while the remaining 311 have not been associated with a specific biological process and are called "unknowns."

The majority of the GreenCut proteins, 52 percent, have been localized in a cellular organelle called the chloroplast--the compartment where photosynthesis takes place. It is widely accepted that chloroplasts originated from photosynthetic, single-celled bacteria called cyanobacteria, which were engulfed by a more complex, non-photosynthetic cell more than 1.5 billion years ago. While the relationship between the two organisms was originally symbiotic, over evolutionary time the cyanobacterium transferred most of its genetic information to the nucleus of the host organism, losing its ability to live independent of its partner.

"This genetically-reduced cyanobacterium, which is now termed a chloroplast, has maintained its ability to perform photosynthesis and certain other essential metabolic functions, such as the synthesis of amino acids and fats. The processes that take place in the chloroplast must also be tightly integrated with metabolic processes that occur in other parts the cell outside of the chloroplast," Grossman explained.

While recent evidence suggests that many of the unknowns of the GreenCut are associated with photosynthetic function, not all GreenCut proteins are located in the chloroplast. But since they are unique to photosynthetic organisms and highly conserved throughout plants and other photosynthetic organisms, it is likely that they are critical for other plant-specific processes. Possible functions could be associated with regulation of metabolism, control of DNA transcription, and the functioning of other cellular organelles, including the energy producing mitochondria and the house-cleaning peroxisomes.

Expanding this work, Grossman and his colleagues found that many GreenCut proteins have been maintained in ancient cyanobacteria, red algae, and other single-celled algae called diatoms. Comparison of GreenCut proteins among various organisms is opening windows for discoveries about the roles that these proteins play in photosynthetic cells, the evolution of chloroplasts, and how photosynthetic cells might be tailored for survival under different environmental conditions.


'/>"/>

Contact: Arthur Grossman
arthurg@stanford.edu
650-325-1521 x212
Carnegie Institution
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Columbia Engineering team makes major step in improving forecasts of weather extremes
2. Small change makes a big difference for ion channels
3. Fish species discovered by LSU researcher makes 2011 top 10 list
4. What doesnt kill the brain makes it stronger
5. Missouri Botanical Garden makes rare discovery of plant genus
6. Laser beam makes cells breathe in water and potentially anti-cancer drugs
7. University of Missouri researcher study provides insight into how corn makes hormones
8. Algal antifreeze makes inroads into ice
9. HIV makes protein that may help viruss resurgence
10. Nanowire research at Stevens makes cover of Applied Physics Letters
11. UMASS Medical Schools human stem cell bank makes available first seven stem cell lines
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/6/2017)... 6, 2017 According to Acuity Market ... border authorities to continue to embrace biometric and ... 2143 Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates and 1436 ... more than 163 ports of entry across the ... achieving a combined CAGR of 37%. APC Kiosks ...
(Date:2/2/2017)... 2017  Central to its deep commitment to ... The Japan Prize Foundation today announced the laureates ... the envelope in their respective fields of Life ... are being recognized with the 2017 Japan Prize ... contribute to the advancement of science and technology, ...
(Date:1/26/2017)... -- Acuity Market Intelligence today released the 2017 "Ten ... characterizes 2017 as a "breakout" year for biometrics ... new understanding of the potential benefits these technologies ... are often perceived as threats to privacy and ... Acuity Market intelligence. "However, taken together these technologies ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/27/2017)... ... February 27, 2017 , ... In starting a program to hire college athletes, ... for attitude. Train for skill.” , In keeping with this philosophy, the Catalyst an ... salesman. Zamzow is hoping to replicate the practice throughout the company. , “I’ve heard ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... , ... Delpor, Inc. (Delpor), a biotechnology company focused on drug delivery, today ... (NIMH) for the further advancement of the company’s 3-month olanzapine product ( DLP-119 ). ... deliver therapeutic levels of olanzapine for a period of 3 months., “We are honored ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... PARSIPPANY, N.J. , Feb. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... botanicals and biotechnology are now the fastest growing ... the Specialty Actives in Personal Care: Multi-regional ... market research and management consulting firm Kline. ... using bioprocesses that make them more effective for ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... SAN DIEGO , Feb. 24, 2017  OncoSec ... intratumoral cancer immunotherapies, will host a Key Opinion Leader ... featured as an oral and poster presentation at the ... development plan. The KOL event will be held in-person ... 12:00 PM EST / 9:00 AM PST at the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: