Navigation Links
When leaves fall, more is occurring than a change of weather

COLUMBIA, Mo. A falling leaf often catches a poet's eye, but scientists also wonder about the phenomenon that causes leaves to fall, or abscission in plants. Abscission is the physiological process plants use to separate entire organs, such as leaves, petals, flowers and fruit, that allow plants to discard non-functional or infected organs. University of Missouri researchers have uncovered the genetic pathway that controls abscission in the plant species Arabidopsis thaliana. The ability to control abscission in plants is of special interest to those in the commercial fruit tree and cut flower industries, which rely heavily on abscission-promoting or inhibiting agents to regulate fruit quality and pre-harvest fruit drop.

"Understanding the physiological mechanism by which plants control abscission is important for understanding both plant development and plant defense mechanisms," said John Walker, director of the MU Interdisciplinary Plant Group at the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center. "Insight into the process of abscission in Arabidopsis thaliana provides a foundation for understanding this fundamental physiological process in other plant species."

Plants abscise an organ for a number of reasons, according Walker. Aged leaves, for example, may be shed to facilitate the recycling of nutrients, ripening fruits dropped to promote seed dispersal and infected or diseased floral organs discarded to prevent the spread of disease. However, why Arabidopsis thaliana is a small flowering plant that is native to Europe, Asia and northwestern Africa, sheds its floral parts after maturation is unclear. The floral part on the plant does not take significant space and abscission does not appear to serve an obvious function. Yet, the genes for abscission have been there for a really long time, Walker said.

Previous studies analyzing abscission in plants have implicated several different genes and gene products. Walker and his colleagues are the first to identify a pathway of genes involved in the process of abscission in Arabidopsis by using a combination of molecular genetics and imagine techniques.

"The process of abscission is a phenomenon that we have yet to fully understand," said Walker, who is also a professor of biological sciences in MU's College of Arts and Science. "Several different genes are involved in the process. Instead of looking at individual genes or proteins, we looked at an entire network at once to see how the difference genes work together in abscission."


Contact: Kelsey Jackson
University of Missouri-Columbia

Related biology news :

1. From Canada to the Caribbean: Tree leaves control their own temperature, Penn study reveals
2. Aquaculture concept leaves judges goggle eyed
3. Why do autumn leaves bother to turn red?
4. Naturally-occurring apple compounds reduce risk of pancreatic cancer
5. Long-term study shows effect of climate change on animal diversity
6. Carbon Disclosure Project: Worlds largest corporations seek clarity on climate change regulation
7. New book brings upper US Gulf Coast climate change and sea-level rise into focus
8. Climate change could be impetus for wars, other conflicts, expert says
9. Regional Law Enforcement Data Exchange System Expands
10. Climate change threatens 1 in 5 plant species
11. Climate change may boost Middle East rainfall
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
When leaves fall, more is occurring than a change of weather
(Date:4/6/2017)... , April 6, 2017 Forecasts ... ANPR, Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, Government ... Oil, Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, ... Other) Are you looking for a definitive ... ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017 Today HYPR Corp. , leading ... component of the HYPR platform is officially FIDO® ... security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune 500 ... secured over 15 million users across the financial services ... home product suites and physical access represent a growing ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... , April 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC ... announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office ... broadly covers the linking of an iris image with ... transaction) and represents the company,s 45 th issued ... patent is very timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... implantation and pregnancy rates in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) ... and maternal age to IVF success. , After comparing the results from the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder ... local San Diego Rotary Club. The event entitled “Stem Cells and ... had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... 9, 2017  BioTech Holdings announced today identification ... its ProCell stem cell therapy prevents limb loss ... Company, demonstrated that treatment with ProCell resulted in ... as compared to standard bone marrow stem cell ... in reduction of therapeutic effect.  ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 06, ... ... years’ experience providing advanced instruments and applications consulting for microscopy and surface ... expertise in application consulting, Nanoscience Analytical offers a broad range of contract ...
Breaking Biology Technology: