Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Novel Mechanism That Regulates Carbon Dioxide Fixation In Plants Discovered

Date:
March 5, 2008
Source:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
A new mechanism that slows the process of carbon dioxide fixation in plants has been discovered. Plants are dependent on sunlight to capture carbon dioxide, which is turned into important sugars via a process called the Calvin cycle. As a result, as the amount of sunlight varies during the day (e.g. through cloud cover or shading from other plants), they must also be able to vary the speed at which they capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This ensures that when there is a lot of sunlight, it is taken full advantage of but that when sunlight drops, so does CO2 uptake. This ability to maximise energy use is important for plants and prevents the loss of important metabolic resources.

Scientists at the University of Essex has discovered a new mechanism that slows the process of carbon dioxide fixation in plants. The research, published March 4 2008 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, increases our understanding of this process, which may ultimately lead to crop improvement and 'fourth generation' biofuels. The mechanism, which helps to regulate the way in which plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and turn it into sugars, acts by putting the brakes on sugar production when there is not enough energy from sunlight available. As sunlight increases, the brakes are rapidly released and carbon dioxide fixation speeds away.

Plants are dependent on sunlight to capture carbon dioxide, which is turned into important sugars via a process called the Calvin cycle. As a result, as the amount of sunlight varies during the day (e.g. through cloud cover or shading from other plants), they must also be able to vary the speed at which they capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This ensures that when there is a lot of sunlight, it is taken full advantage of but that when sunlight drops, so does CO2 uptake. This ability to maximise energy use is important for plants and prevents the loss of important metabolic resources. Because they essentially stay in one place, plants must have many unique abilities to adapt to their environment as it changes around them.

The question is how does this variable speed control actually work? The BBSRC-funded research shows for the first time how the Calvin cycle can be regulated in response to a changing light environment via a molecular mechanism. There is a special relationship between two enzymes that are involved in the Calvin cycle -- phosphoribulokinase (PRK) and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH). When light levels decrease, the two enzymes tend to stick together and therefore cannot function, thus slowing the Calvin cycle. The darker it is, the more PRK-GAPDH partnerships are formed and the slower the Calvin cycle becomes. In the light, they break apart rapidly and the Calvin cycle is allowed to speed up.

This fundamental research has revealed a novel mechanism and provides a better understanding of the regulation of CO2 fixation in plants. This work will underpin strategies to increase the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by plants thereby increasing yield for food and biofuel production, and may ultimately feed into the development of 'fourth generation' biofuels.

Research Leader, Professor Christine Raines of the University of Essex, said: "Although this research focuses on the fundamental biological processes that plants use, ultimately, if we can understand these processes, we can use the knowledge to develop and improve food and biofuel crops."

Dr Tom Howard, who contributed to the research, said: "Plants have evolved a fascinating way to cope with variations in their local environments. Unlike animals, they cannot move on to look for new food sources. This research helps to unlock one way that plants deal with the ultimate variable -- the amount of sunshine they receive."

The research is published the week of March 3-7 2008 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA as a PNAS Early Edition. Thioredoxin-mediated reversible dissociation of a stromal multiprotein complex in response to changes in light availability, Thomas P. Howard, Metodi Metodiev, Julie C. Lloyd, and Christine A. Raines. doi/10.1073/pnas.0710518105


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Novel Mechanism That Regulates Carbon Dioxide Fixation In Plants Discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080303190615.htm>.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. (2008, March 5). Novel Mechanism That Regulates Carbon Dioxide Fixation In Plants Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080303190615.htm
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Novel Mechanism That Regulates Carbon Dioxide Fixation In Plants Discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080303190615.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
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