Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Circadian rhythms spark plants' ability to survive freezing weather

Date:
April 12, 2011
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Just as monarch butterflies depend on circadian cues to begin their annual migration, so do plants to survive freezing temperatures. All living things -- humans, animals, plants, microbes -- are influenced by circadian rhythms, which are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. Researchers have now discovered that the circadian clock provides key input required for plants to attain maximum freezing tolerance.

Michael Thomashow, University Distinguished Professor of molecular genetics, has shown that circadian rhythms spark plants' ability to fend off cold weather.
Credit: Photo by Greg Kohuth

Just as monarch butterflies depend on circadian cues to begin their annual migration, so do plants to survive freezing temperatures.

All living things -- humans, animals, plants, microbes -- are influenced by circadian rhythms, which are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. In the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Michael Thomashow, University Distinguished Professor of molecular genetics, along with MSU colleagues Malia Dong and Eva Farrι, has identified that the circadian clock provides key input required for plants to attain maximum freezing tolerance.

"The integration of cold-signaling pathways with the circadian clock may have been an important evolutionary event that has contributed to plant adaptation to cold environments," Thomashow said.

Thomashow, who is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences for his contributions to the field of plant biology, has focused his research on the identification of stress response pathways involved in freezing and drought tolerance. Stresses, including extreme temperatures and water deficit, are major factors that limit the geographical locations where food and potential bioenergy crops can be grown.

His research led to the identification of the C-repeat binding factor, or CBF response pathway, a stress pathway that can be found in many different plants and plays a major role in freezing and drought tolerance. Reducing abiotic stresses, such as extremes in temperature and drought, can help expand where crops can be grown and increase yields on an annual basis, Thomashow said.

"Increasing the abiotic stress tolerance of crops is integral to keeping food production apace with the increasing world population and to the national vision of replacing a significant proportion of petroleum-based transportation fuels with renewal biofuels," he said.

Identifying the circadian clock's influence helps answer a major question that had been puzzling researchers regarding the CBF pathway and how plants sense changes in temperature and other environmental conditions that regulate the activity of the pathway.

Knowing that input from the circadian clock is required for plants to attain maximum freezing tolerance will be a key factor for researchers to develop "designer plants," ones that have modified CBF pathways that improve abiotic stress tolerance, Thomashow said.

Thomashow's research is supported in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences, Office of Basic Energy Sciences), the National Science Foundation (Plant Genome Project) and MSU AgBioResearch.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. M. A. Dong, E. M. Farre, M. F. Thomashow. Circadian Clock-Associated 1 and Late Elongated Hypocotyl Regulate Expression of the C-Repeat Binding Factor (CBF) Pathway in Arabidopsis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1103741108

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Circadian rhythms spark plants' ability to survive freezing weather." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412121314.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2011, April 12). Circadian rhythms spark plants' ability to survive freezing weather. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412121314.htm
Michigan State University. "Circadian rhythms spark plants' ability to survive freezing weather." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412121314.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) — Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) — With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) — Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
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