Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists discover 'switch' in plants to create flowers

Date:
April 17, 2012
Source:
National University of Singapore
Summary:
Flowering is the most crucial act that plants undergo, as the fruits of such labor include crops on which the world depends, and seeds from which the next generation grows. While classic experiments have demonstrated that plants are able to adjust the timing of their flowering in response to environmental conditions, such as light and temperature, until now very little was known about what exactly triggers plants to make flowers instead of leaves. Now, a team of researchers from Singapore has discovered how this happens.

The plant on the left has the working FTIP1 protein and can flower normally. The plants in the middle and on the right, which have the FTIP1 mutants, have yet to flower.
Credit: NUS

Flowering is the most crucial act that plants undergo, as the fruits of such labor include crops on which the world depends, and seeds from which the next generation grows.

While classic experiments have demonstrated that plants are able to adjust the timing of their flowering in response to environmental conditions, such as light, temperature and the availability of nutrients, very little has been known about what exactly triggers plants to make flowers instead of leaves, under various environmental conditions.

Now, a team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has discovered how this happens. The team, led by Associate Professor Yu Hao from the Department of Biological Sciences at the NUS Faculty of Science, has identified a protein that is essential for flowering under normal light conditions. The team's findings are published April 17 in the online, open-access journal PLoS Biology.

To identify the element that triggers the process of flowering in plants, Prof Yu and his colleagues undertook a study that spanned around five years, in which they scanned for proteins in plants using a process called yeast two-hybrid screening. After scanning around 3 million samples, the researchers identified a molecule they dubbed FT-INTERACTING PROTEIN 1 (FTIP1).

The researchers found that plants with mutant, non-functional versions of the FTIP1 gene flowered much later under normal light conditions (around 16 hours of light per day). When such mutants were given a working version of this gene, their flowering time was restored largely back to normal.

These findings suggest that FTIP1 is key to how flowering is controlled by light and imply that FTIP1, and genes similar to it, could be used as molecular markers for both classical plant breeding and for targeted genetic modification for desirable flowering traits, with the aim of increasing crop yields in changing environments.

Further studies from Prof Yu and his team hint that a group of FTIP1-like proteins are involved in a wide range of plant developmental processes. They are now working to uncover the other factors that are critical in controlling flowering and other key developmental processes in plants.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Lu Liu, Chang Liu, Xingliang Hou, Wanyan Xi, Lisha Shen, Zhen Tao, Yue Wang, Hao Yu. FTIP1 Is an Essential Regulator Required for Florigen Transport. PLoS Biology, 2012; 10 (4): e1001313 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001313

Cite This Page:

National University of Singapore. "Scientists discover 'switch' in plants to create flowers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120417221825.htm>.
National University of Singapore. (2012, April 17). Scientists discover 'switch' in plants to create flowers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120417221825.htm
National University of Singapore. "Scientists discover 'switch' in plants to create flowers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120417221825.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 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