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MAD: Scientists shed light on braking mechanisms in cellular signaling
Date:6/5/2014

es of restraint functions are of great importance but poorly understood, as scientists have focused mostly on how the cells get stimulated in the first place.

Light-signaling in Arabidopsis involves the binding of an activated photoreceptor molecule (called phytochrome) to a transcription factor (gene-switch) called PIF. This binding destroys PIF, switching off its target genes. However, the researchers found that in imposing PIF's destruction, phytochrome signs its own death warrant and is simultaneously executed, thus reducing the incoming light-signaling intensity.

"Understanding such molecular mechanisms underlying the light response kinetics is important for engineering crops that can better adapt to environmental fluctuations," said Carnegie's Zhiyong Wang, one of the co-authors.

This bimolecular mutually assured destruction (MAD) mechanism of signaling attenuation appears to represent a new configuration, thus broadening our understanding of the range of mechanisms nature has evolved for this critical function.


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Contact: Zhiyong Wang
zwang@carnegiescience.edu
650-739-4205
Carnegie Institution
Source:Eurekalert

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