Navigation Links
Researchers discover chemical compounds that affect plant growth

A team of biologists from the University of California, Riverside has used chemical genomics to identify novel compounds that affect the ability of plants to alter their direction of growth in response to gravity, a phenomenon known as gravitropism.

The researchers screened a library of 10,000 small molecules, the practice is known as chemical genomics, to identify those that could positively or negatively affect gravity's effect on plant growth, which is closely linked to the movement of proteins through plant cell membranes, a process known as endomembrane trafficking.

"Well-characterized bioactive chemicals and their targets identified in the model plant, Arabidopsis, can be used in non-model species to improve agronomic traits and increase crop value," said research team leader, Distinguished Professor of Plant Cell Biology Natasha Raikhel.

The team published its findings in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in a paper titled, The Power of Chemical Genomics to Study the Link between Endomembrane System Components and Gravitropic Response. Her team included equal contributions from UCR colleagues Marci Surpin, Marcela Pierce-Rojas, Clay Carter, Glenn R. Hicks. Co-author Jacob Vasquez originally came to the Raikhel lab from San Bernardino Valley College as a participant in the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in 2003 and has remained to contribute to research efforts while studying at UCR.

The team's chemical genomics approach focuses on the use of small molecules to modify or disrupt the functions of specific genes or proteins. NASA supported the research.

"This contrasts with classical genetics, in which mutations disrupt gene function," Raikhel said. "The underlying concept is that the functions of most proteins can be altered by the binding of a chemical, which can be found by screening large libraries for compounds that specifically affect a measurable process."

The scientists found 219 chemicals that affected the direction of plant growth due to gravity. Further screens reduced this number to 34, then down to 4 chemicals, which affected gravitropism and the movement of proteins through membranes within the plant cell. .

Only one of these resembled auxins, a plant-produced growth hormone involved in gravitropic responses, while two of the four did not work through known auxin pathways. One of the chemicals resembled pyocyanin a product of bacterial metabolism thought to target yeast cell membranes. With chemical genomics, the team could identify valuable genetic characteristics beyond the reach of conventional mutations, which are often lethal when present in essential genes such as those that encode many cellular membrane components. Combined with the formidable genetic mapping and information available from the Arabidopsis plant, chemical genomics is becoming a powerful new tool in plant biology. It is helping scientists better understand protein transportation and genetic signaling in a plant's cellular membrane system, which is essential to plant growth, yet is poorly understood.

The researchers can now use the compounds they have discovered to identify target pathways and proteins within the endomembrane system.


Related Links
* Natasha Raikhel's faculty Web page:
* Center for Plant Cell Biology at UCR:
* Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:


Source:University of California - Riverside

Related biology news :

1. Researchers discover way to make cells in the eye sensitive to light
2. Researchers find how protein allows insects to detect and respond to pheromones
3. Researchers Uncover Key Step In Manufacture of Memory Protein
4. Researchers reveal the infectious impact of salmon farms on wild salmon
5. Researchers identify target for cancer drugs
6. Researchers discover molecule that causes secondary stroke
7. Researchers find missing genes of ancient organism
8. Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes
9. Researchers add new tool to tumor-treatment arsenal
10. UF Researchers Map Bacterial Proteins That Cause Tooth Loss
11. VCU Researchers Identify Networks Of Genes Responding To Alcohol In The Brain
Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/9/2016)... control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance control software, allowing ... are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of doors. ... ... ... Photo - ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... YORK , June 2, 2016   The Weather ... is announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which consumers ... by being able to ask questions via voice or text ... Marketers have long sought ... the consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; and ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... YORK , May 16, 2016   EyeLock ... solutions, today announced the opening of an IoT Center ... to strengthen and expand the development of embedded iris ... an unprecedented level of convenience and security with unmatched ... authenticate one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... TORONTO , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon ... the development and commercialization of a portfolio of ... cancers. Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an ... contribute significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed ... to serve as their official health care provider. ... will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and ... volunteers, athletes and families. "We are ... and to bring Houston Methodist quality services and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 ... for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , ... secured $1 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley ... up automation and to advance its drug development efforts, ... new facility. "SVB has been an incredible ... the services a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: