Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antagonistic genes control rice growth

Date:
December 18, 2009
Source:
Carnegie Institution
Summary:
Scientists have found that a plant steroid prompts two genes to battle each other -- one suppresses the other to ensure that leaves grow normally in rice and the experimental plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a relative of mustard. The results have important implications for understanding how to manipulate crop growth and yield.

Scientists at the Carnegie Institution, with colleagues,* have found that a plant steroid prompts two genes to battle each other -- one suppresses the other to ensure that leaves grow normally in rice and the experimental plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a relative of mustard.

Related Articles


The results, published in the December 15, 2009, issue of The Plant Cell, have important implications for understanding how to manipulate crop growth and yield.

In plants, steroid levels reflect environmental and internal signals and control many processes. Steroid hormones called brassinosteroids (BRs) start their action on the surface of the cell and, through a molecular relay, send signals into the cell's nucleus to turn on or off specific genes, particularly those that are critical to regulating plant growth and development. Although a lot has been discovered about how the steroid affects genes in Arabidopsis, much less was known in crop plants such as rice.

Co-author Zhi-Yong Wang at Carnegie's Department of Plant Biology explained the work: "We knew that the steroid is very important for activating genes that control cell growth in Arabidopsis as well as in rice. One of the most sensitive responses to the steroid is leaf bending in rice, caused by expansion of the upper cells at the joint between leaf blade and leaf sheath. We wanted to determine how the steroid functioned in rice. We found that the steroid affects two genes encoding (or producing) proteins that turn other genes on or off; they are called transcription factors. In rice, when a gene called Increased Leaf Inclination1 (ILI1) is turned on, it causes leaf bending. Interestingly, we found that the ILI1 protein also binds to another transcription factor, called IBH1, and inhibits its function. When there is too much ILI1 protein, the leaves bend excessively making the plant shaggy. When IBH1 level is high, cell growth is stopped at the joint and the rice is very erect, taking up less space. In normal rice plants the balance between ILI1 and IBH1 keeps growth in check."

This pair of genes provides a unique tool to control the leaf angle, which is important for crop yield because erect leaves improve light capture and allows rice plants to be planted at higher density for a higher yield per hectare.

Through a series of experiments, the researchers determined how the steroid and genes interact. They found that brassinosteroid oppositely regulate these genes -- ILI1 was activated and IBH1 was repressed. As such, the steroid tips the balance between their protein products, ILI1 and IBH1, to initiate cell growth.

"It appears that the steroid causes the IBH1 genes to stop the production of IBH1 protein, and in the meantime increases the production of the ILI1 protein, which turns off IBH1's inhibition of cell growth. This ensures that the cell grows to just the right length according to the level of steroid," commented Wang.

The researchers performed similar experiments on the mustard, which showed that steroid interacted with the mustard genes the same way. "Since similar genes are doing the same thing in these different plants, this process is likely to be very old and found in many different higher plants. The more we learn about such mechanisms, the closer we will come to better engineering crops to feed a growing population," concluded Wang.

The work was supported by the National Science Foundation of China; The National Institute of Health; the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan; and the Carnegie Institution.

*Colleagues on the study are from the following institutions: Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences; Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution; Yonsei University, Korea; RIKEN Advanced Science Institute, Japan.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Carnegie Institution. "Antagonistic genes control rice growth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215173025.htm>.
Carnegie Institution. (2009, December 18). Antagonistic genes control rice growth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215173025.htm
Carnegie Institution. "Antagonistic genes control rice growth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215173025.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. 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:

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