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 January 26, 2015 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 January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) Activists hope the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) will label killer whales endangered, allowing lawyers to sue a Miami aquarium to release an orca into the wild after 44 years. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

Buzz60 (Jan. 23, 2015) Some &apos;healthy&apos; foods are actually fattening. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) shines a light on the sneaky foods like nuts, seeds, granola, trail mix, avocados, guacamole, olive oil, peanut butter, fruit juices and salads that are good for you...but not so much for your waistline. Video provided by Buzz60
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