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In time for spring, biologist illuminates how seedlings regulate growth
Date:4/21/2011

er proteins, DeLong and and graduate student Kyle Skottke, the lead author, found the mechanism by which PP2A works. In seedlings, its phosphoryl-pruning effect suppresses the activity of a protein called ACS6 that is necessary to produce ethylene. In Petri dishes kept in the dark analogous to growing underground plants lacking a PP2A gene grew much shorter shoots than normal plants.

Unexpectedly, the team, including researchers from the University of North CarolinaChapel Hill, also found that PP2A boosts the activity of a second class of ACS proteins. Those proteins are responsible for maintaining the normal baseline production of ethylene, which is important to have around at other developmental stages.

"For us the fun part of the story is that we went looking for the answer to a single question and then, in walking through the analysis to lead us to that single answer, we actually found a second phenomenon that we hadn't known to look for," she said.

A next step in DeLong's lab will be to look at how the protein network operates during later developmental stages. With spring settled, so to speak, the growing season is the next focus of her inquiry into the nature of growth.


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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

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