Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Abnormal Plant Shows Scientists Path To Plant, Animal Development

Date:
July 9, 2003
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
A pickle-shaped root is revealing how plants develop from embryos to adults and also may hold answers about cancer cell growth.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A pickle-shaped root is revealing how plants develop from embryos to adults and also may hold answers about cancer cell growth.

Related Articles


Purdue University researchers have uncovered nine specific genes that are shut off before plants make the developmental transition from the embryonic stage to adulthood. Results of the latest study are published in the July issue of The Plant Journal.

"We now have data supporting the hypothesis that the gene PKL is a master regulator of genes that promote embryonic identity," said Joe Ogas, an associate professor of biochemistry. "Some of the genes we identified are known to control plant embryo development. They tell the plant, 'be a seed.' Then PKL says, 'You're done being a seed,' and turns them off."

The genes the scientists identified are part of a class called LEAFY COTYLEDON (LEC). The researchers call them the "master regulators" of embryogenesis, the formation and growth of the embryo. This new study suggests that PKL is the master switch that turns LEC genes off so that the plant can develop the root and leaf systems of adult plants.

"We hope to identify new factors common to both plants and animals that researchers looking at human development haven't yet found," Ogas said. "These new factors might then provide insight into regulation of gene expression in humans during normal developmental processes and during abnormal events such as cancer."

It has been shown that a protein from a specific family plays an analogous role in controlling development in both the laboratory plant Arabidopsis and the laboratory animal C. elegans, a tiny transparent worm.

"This is our first attempt to understand how PKL works as a regulator of gene expression," Ogas said. "The neat thing about this work is that it's also shown that in animal systems, a protein homologous, or corresponding, to PKL is also involved in turning off developmentally regulated genes. So, we're finding similar regulatory roles for both human and plant proteins."

Ogas and his team found the embryo-promoting genes by studying a strain of Arabidopsis in which PKL is abnormal, or mutated. The mutated gene, designated as lowercase pkl, was unable to repress the embryogenesis genes. The result is a plant that is dwarfed compared to a normal plant, has a pickle-shaped root, and characteristics of both an embryo and an adult plant.

Ogas said they found that embryo-promoting genes are expressed at inappropriately high levels when PKL has not turned them off. This results in seedlings that still have embryonic traits.

The researchers believe they now can turn PKL on and off and that they know the chronology of steps needed to regulate genes that foster embryonic behavior.

The researchers studied 8,000 Arabidopsis genes to determine the specific ones that would only turn off if PKL is fully functional. Once PKL switches those embryonic genes off, the plants can proceed into normal adult development.

Ogas and his team used microarray analysis, in which bits of DNA are placed on a microchip, to identify nine genes involved in the development pathway. They also found that a number of genes that may be important to plants in the embryonic stage apparently are not affected by PKL.

"It is likely that some other proteins that act in this PKL-development pathway are used in animal systems," Ogas said. "Thus, some of the lessons that we learn by working in Arabidopsis also might be applicable to regulation of human gene expression."

The other researchers involved in this study were: postdoctoral student Stanley Dean Rider Jr. and graduate student James Henderson, both of the Purdue Department of Biochemistry; assistant professor Jeanne Romero-Severson of the Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Computational Genomics Center; and research scientist Ronald Jerome and professor Howard Edenberg, both of the Indiana University Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.


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. "Abnormal Plant Shows Scientists Path To Plant, Animal Development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030709064133.htm>.
Purdue University. (2003, July 9). Abnormal Plant Shows Scientists Path To Plant, Animal Development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030709064133.htm
Purdue University. "Abnormal Plant Shows Scientists Path To Plant, Animal Development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030709064133.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. 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