Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Trio Of Plant Genes Prevent 'Too Many Mouths'

Date:
July 18, 2005
Source:
University Of Washington
Summary:
A signaling pathway required for plants to grow to their normal size appears to have an unexpected dual purpose of keeping the plant from wallpapering itself with too many densely clustered stomata. Understanding the mechanisms that control stomata patterning offers insights into such questions as how plants evolved to protect themselves when they moved from water to land.

Keiko Torii holds a mutated version -- one that's an inch tall and covered densely with microscopic stomata -- and a normal plant of Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant that is widely used as a model organism in plant biology.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Washington

A signaling pathway required for plants to grow to their normal size appears to have an unexpected dual purpose of keeping the plants from wallpapering themselves with too many densely clustered stomata.

"It's surprising that size and stomata patterning -- both key to plants being able to survive on dry land -- are using the same signaling components," says Jessica McAbee, a University of Washington research associate in biology. She's one co-author of a report in the July 8 issue of Science about work with Arabidopsis, a weed-like member of the crucifer family for which scientists already have a genomic map.

Stomata are microscopic pores on the surface of plants that open to allow plants to take in carbon dioxide from the air for photosynthesis. They close when there is the danger that the plant tissue may lose too much moisture.

"Specialized cells open and close the stomata, much like opening and closing a mouth," says Keiko Torii, UW assistant professor of biology. Stomata too close together can't operate effectively.

Understanding the mechanisms that control stomata patterning offers insights into such questions as how plants evolved to protect themselves when they moved from water to land, Torii says. Even atmospheric scientists are interested in such basic plant biology, given the enormous amount of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide taken up by the Earth's plants.

Scientists already believed that part of the signaling pathway for stomata production included the receptor-like protein Too Many Mouths, so called because when absent the plant makes too many stomata, or mouths.

Scientists were searching for a single stomata gene that had to be working in concert with Too Many Mouths to get an efficient distribution of stomata, Torii says. No one was considering that more than one gene could be involved, much less three, or that the genes could be serving other purposes, she says.

The UW team of four female scientists serendipitously discovered what appears to be part of the pathway that tempers the production of stomata while studying a trio of genes that code for signaling receptors required for normal plant height.

The scientists were working on a basic understanding of plant growth as part of U.S. Department of Energy and Japanese Science and Technology Agency-funded work about growing plant material, or biomass, suitable for producing fuel. By mutating all three genes -- essentially putting them all out of action -- the researchers got dwarf plants an inch high instead of the normal 1½ feet.

Surprisingly the plants also were so densely covered with stomata that most stomata were touching each other.

These genes appear to have roles at two points in the production of stomata. First, they inhibit undifferentiated cells -- those unspecialized cells that have yet to turn into specific cell types -- from making too many stomata and then they repress the development of two guard cells that open and close the stomata pore.

Co-authors of the Science paper besides Torii and McAbee are lead author Elena Shpak, former research associate at the UW and starting this fall as an assistant professor at California State University, Fullerton, and Lynn Pillitteri, a UW research associate in biology.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University Of Washington. "Trio Of Plant Genes Prevent 'Too Many Mouths'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050709001954.htm>.
University Of Washington. (2005, July 18). Trio Of Plant Genes Prevent 'Too Many Mouths'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050709001954.htm
University Of Washington. "Trio Of Plant Genes Prevent 'Too Many Mouths'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050709001954.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. 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:
from the past week

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