Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Purdue Genetic Discovery May Aid Plants And Human Medicine

Date:
June 26, 2003
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
Findings that two mutated genes alter plant growth and development could result in improved plants and enhanced cancer treatments, according to Purdue University researchers.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Findings that two mutated genes alter plant growth and development could result in improved plants and enhanced cancer treatments, according to Purdue University researchers.

Related Articles


In a paper published in Thursday's (6/26) issue of Nature, the scientists report that these abnormal, or mutant plants are able to reorient themselves in response to light and gravity more rapidly than normal, or "wild type," plants. Apparently plants behave differently in accordance with how a growth hormone moves through them. Because the two genes affecting transport of the hormone are related to human genes that impact the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs, controlling these genes may allow physicians to better determine the dosage of cancer drugs.

"We now know that if we can modify these genes, we can control the growth of the plant in very specific regions," said Angus Murphy, assistant professor of horticulture and senior author of the paper. "This means we might be able to change the shape of upper portions of a plant or develop a more robust root system."

These genes are related to multidrug resistance (MDR) genes in humans. MDR genes transport anticancer drugs out of cells, rendering the treatment less effective. The genes are designated with capital letters, while the mutated, or altered, genes are designated with small letters (in this case, mdr). Murphy's research group found and studied the altered genes in the commonly used experimental plant, Arabidopsis(pronounced: Ah-rob-ah-dop-sis).

The Arabidopsis mdr mutations disrupt the accumulation of a protein, PIN1, at the base of cells in the stems of plant embryos, Murphy said. Because PIN1 is an essential part of the system that transports the growth hormone auxin, dislocation of the protein impairs flow of the hormone through the plant. This alters how the plants develop and respond to factors such as light and gravity.

Relocation of PIN1 and selective disruption of auxin transport makes plants bushier and affects fruit production. Transport of auxin to roots is actually enhanced in some mdr mutants, so the same gene modifications may alter root structures to make plants more adaptable to different soil types.

In addition, discovery that MDR-like genes play an integral role in transport of auxin could impact human cancer chemotherapy treatments, Murphy said. Researchers already know that MDRs move the drugs out of cancer cells, but they don't know what other transport functions they perform or exactly how they work.

"We're assuming that they work together with other transport proteins to move toxic compounds out of cells, but we don't really know," Murphy said. "The idea that they could be affecting where those transport proteins go in human cells has tremendous implication for studies in humans as well as plants."

One way to find out more about transport proteins is to find out how a gene affects a plant's development.

"We learned how these genes function by knocking out the gene," Murphy said. "This is the genetic equivalent of taking a car from the assembly line and just pulling out a particular part. When the car is finished without the part, you see what works and what doesn't.

"In this case, we have removed two parts with similar functions to find out more about what they do."

Murphy said the research team would like to alter plant growth by changing the gene slightly rather than turning it off altogether. They know that one MDR mutation in another plant species results in plants that are shorter and stockier with a bigger root system than in the wild type. These mutants are more resistant to wind and may be more robust in difficult environments where the soil is poor and the climate is arid.

"Timing is also important," he said "If we can turn these genes on and off at the right times, we may be able to enhance a valuable trait.

"For instance, right now you have to mechanically pinch off chrysanthemums so they will spread, or apply a growth regulator to produce useful ornamental plants from cuttings. If, instead, we could insert a program into the plant to activate or inactivate auxin transport at a particular time and in a particular part of the plant then the plant would automatically become bushier or produce more flowers."

Further research on auxin transport will investigate whether other MDR family members influence PIN1 distribution and also what specific relationships exist between members of the MDR and PIN families of transport proteins.

The other authors of this study were Bosl Noh, now a senior research scientist at Kumho Life and Environmental Science Laboratories in Korea; Anindita Bandyopadhyay, a Purdue horticulture doctoral student; Wendy Peer, Purdue horticulture research scientist; and Edgar Spalding, University of Wisconsin associate professor of botany.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Purdue Genetic Discovery May Aid Plants And Human Medicine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030626074313.htm>.
Purdue University. (2003, June 26). Purdue Genetic Discovery May Aid Plants And Human Medicine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030626074313.htm
Purdue University. "Purdue Genetic Discovery May Aid Plants And Human Medicine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030626074313.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins