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 29, 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 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) — West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) — The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) 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