Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plant Gene That Helps Plants Resist Environmental Stresses Identified

Date:
January 28, 2008
Source:
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Summary:
Scientists have isolated a gene that has never before been identified in helping plants to resist stress. The study could pave the way for development of agricultural and forestry crops that are more tolerant to environmental stresses such as ultraviolet light and other types of radiation.

A University of Saskatchewan team of scientists has isolated a gene that has never before been identified in helping plants to resist stress.

Related Articles


The study, recently published in the journal The Plant Cell, could pave the way for development of agricultural and forestry crops that are more tolerant to environmental stresses such as ultra-violet light and other types of radiation.

"Our next step is to see if plant genes we've isolated also play a similar role in fighting infections," said U of S microbiologist Wei Xiao. "In previous research, our team and others have shown that similar genes in human and animal cells play an important role in protection against both viral and bacterial infections."

In an unusual collaboration, Xiao teamed up with U of S biochemist Hong Wang, two post-doctoral fellows and three graduate students on the study. Doctoral student Rui Wen is the lead author on the paper.

Using Arabidopsis, a widely accepted research model plant closely related to canola, the team cloned and characterized four genes suspected of playing a role in the plant's stress responses. The team found that when plants were subjected to a DNA-damaging stressor, the plants in which one of the four genes had been turned off produced seedlings that grew slower and often died, compared with a control group.

"This tells us that these genes likely play an important role in maintaining the genetic stability of the plant and protecting the plant from stress," said Xiao.

The next step is to look at whether turning on or off any of the other three genes will affect the plant's resistance to environmental stresses, including viral and bacterial infections.

Xiao's previous research used cultured mammalian cells to study cancer and immunity. But since deletion of genes in living mammals would cause the embryos to die, the team turned to the plant model.

"This study demonstrates for the first time that we can study this group of genes at the whole organism level, rather than just at the cellular level, which could have applications down the road for human and animal medicine in fighting cancer and infections," said Xiao, noting that plant, animal and human studies are increasingly converging around gene-based research.

In previous research using human cells, Xiao found that human genes similar to the four plant genes not only fight carcinogens but play a role in fighting viral and bacterial infections.

"There are actually two closely related genes involved-one fighting against infections and the other against cancer," said Xiao. "The two genes-Beauty and the Beast-complement each other when they work together, but if Beast is constantly being expressed to stimulate cells to uncontrollably reproduce, this situation can lead to cancer."

Ten years ago, Xiao discovered a gene in baker's yeast that when inactivated causes cells to be more susceptible to DNA-damaging agents. His team then identified two similar human genes and found that when either of these was put into the yeast cells containing the inactivated gene, the problem was soon fixed and the cells grew normally.

The plant gene products under study by Xiao and Wang bind with a protein (Ubc13) which has recently been found to control activation of the immune response. This protein has also been linked to an increasing number of human diseases, including Parkinson's and breast cancer.

Long term, the team's goal is to develop screening tests for humans and animals that could detect a cancer-causing imbalance, allowing earlier treatment and prevention. Diagnostic antibodies suitable for such tests have been developed by Xiao and his U of S colleagues and have been licensed to California-based Zymed Laboratories, Inc., and Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc.

The study was funded by both the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Canadian Institutes of Health Research. "Plant Gene That Helps Plants Resist Environmental Stresses Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080125170901.htm>.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research. (2008, January 28). Plant Gene That Helps Plants Resist Environmental Stresses Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080125170901.htm
Canadian Institutes of Health Research. "Plant Gene That Helps Plants Resist Environmental Stresses Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080125170901.htm (accessed March 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

AFP (Mar. 25, 2015) Experts are gathering in Botswana to try to end the illegal wildlife trade that is decimating populations of elephants, rhinos and other threatened species. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Elephants Help Keep 18-Wheeler From Toppling Over

Elephants Help Keep 18-Wheeler From Toppling Over

Newsy (Mar. 25, 2015) The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff&apos;s Office discovered two elephants keeping a tractor-trailer that had gotten stuck in some mud upright on a highway. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby 'pet' Orangutan Rescued from Chicken Cage Takes First Steps

Baby 'pet' Orangutan Rescued from Chicken Cage Takes First Steps

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) Buti, a baby orangutan who was left malnourished in a chicken cage before his rescue, takes his first steps after months of painful physical therapy. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
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