Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Research Alters Concept Of How Circadian Clock Functions

Date:
December 16, 2007
Source:
University of Cambridge
Summary:
Scientists have identified a molecule that may govern how the circadian clock in plants responds to environmental changes. The researchers have discovered that a signaling molecule, known to be important for environmental stress signaling in plants, also regulates their circadian clock. They believe that the molecule may therefore incorporate information about environmental changes into the biological clock that regulates the physiology of plants. The research dramatically changes our current understanding of the circadian clock and may have important implications for the agricultural community.

Scientists from the University of Cambridge have identified a molecule that may govern how the circadian clock in plants responds to environmental changes.

The researchers have discovered that a signalling molecule, known to be important for environmental stress signalling in plants, also regulates their circadian clock. They believe that the molecule may therefore incorporate information about environmental changes into the biological clock that regulates the physiology of plants. The research dramatically changes our current understanding of the circadian clock and may have important implications for the agricultural community.

In both plants and animals the operation of the circadian clock within the cell consists of feedback loops of gene expression, whereby a series of genes activate or repress one another in a cyclical manner that takes 24 hours. However, researchers were surprised to find that rather than a protein or a gene, a small cellular signalling molecule called the cyclic adenosine diphosphate ribose (cADPR) plays an important role. This finding changes our current concept of the construction of circadian clocks from being just loops of gene expressions in the cell nucleus, to signalling networks that include components throughout the cell.

Understanding how the plant circadian clock functions could assist with increasing agricultural output for both food as well as new demands for biofuels. Experiments have shown that correct operation of the plant circadian clock may double plant productivity by increasing the rate of photosynthesis. The circadian clock also regulates the seasonal timing of flowering and seed production.

The study found that interfering with cADPR signalling caused incorrect timing of the circadian clock. For example, eliminating cADPR made the clock run slow. The researchers concluded that cADPR signals are therefore part of this timing system that helps optimize plant growth.

Additionally, the onset of environmental stresses such as drought and salinity are communicated within plant cells by the molecule cADPR. These signals cause cellular responses that allow the plant to survive the stress. The integration of this molecule into the circadian clock could therefore provide a system to change or stabilize the timing of biological events in order to ensure that cells survive the environmental alteration.

Dr Antony Dodd with the Department of Plant Sciences at Cambridge University explained, "The biological clock is thought to be essential for plant life and so it is essential to discover how it works. In our study we have identified a new type of circadian clock component that alters the concept of circadian clock architecture."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Cambridge. "New Research Alters Concept Of How Circadian Clock Functions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071213145822.htm>.
University of Cambridge. (2007, December 16). New Research Alters Concept Of How Circadian Clock Functions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071213145822.htm
University of Cambridge. "New Research Alters Concept Of How Circadian Clock Functions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071213145822.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. 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