UC Riverside-led research in synthetic biology provides a strategy that has reprogrammed plants to consume less water after they are exposed to an agrochemical, opening new doors for crop improvement
Crops and other plants are constantly faced with adverse environmental conditions, such as rising temperatures (2014 was the warmest year on record) and lessening fresh water supplies, which lower yield and cost farmers billions of dollars annually.
Drought is a major environmental stress factor affecting plant growth and development. When plants encounter drought, they naturally produce abscisic acid (ABA), a stress hormone that inhibits plant growth and reduces water consumption. Specifically, the hormone turns on a receptor (special protein) in plants when it binds to the receptor like a hand fitting into a glove, resulting in beneficial changes – such as the closing of guard cells on leaves, called stomata, to reduce water loss – that help the plants survive.
While it is true that crops could be sprayed with ABA to assist their survival during drought, ABA is costly to make, rapidly inactivated inside plant cells and light-sensitive, and has therefore failed to find much direct use in agriculture. Several research groups are working to develop synthetic ABA mimics to modulate drought tolerance, but once discovered these mimics are expected to face lengthy and costly development processes.
The agrochemical mandipropamid, however, is already widely used in agricultural production to control late blight of fruit and vegetable crops. Could drought-threatened crops be engineered to respond to mandipropamid as if it were ABA, and thus enhance their survival during drought?
Yes, according to a team of scientists, led by Sean Cutler at the University of California, Riverside.
The researchers worked with Arabidopsis, a model plant used widely in plant biology labs, and the tomato plant. In the lab, they used synthetic biological methods to develop a new version of these plants’ abscisic acid receptors, engineered to be activated by mandipropamid instead of ABA. The researchers showed that when the reprogrammed plants were sprayed with mandipropamid, the plants effectively survived drought conditions by turning on the abscisic acid pathway, which closed the stomata on their leaves to prevent water loss.
The finding illustrates the power of synthetic biological approaches for manipulating crops and opens new doors for crop improvement that could benefit a growing world population.
The Latest on: Reprogramming plants
via Google News
The Latest on: Reprogramming plants
- In World First, Scientists Reprogram Bacteria to Exist Solely By Consuming CO2 From the Airon November 28, 2019 at 8:19 am
The study began by identifying crucial genes for the process of carbon fixation—the way plants take carbon from CO2 for the purpose of turning it into such biological molecules as protein and DNA.
- Root-associated microorganisms reprogram plant life history along the growth–stress resistance tradeoffon September 11, 2019 at 5:27 am
Growth–defense tradeoffs are a major constraint on plant evolution. While the genetics of resource allocation is well established, the regulatory role of plant-associated microorganisms is still ...
- How You Can ‘Reprogram’ Your Taste Buds to Like Vegetableson August 11, 2019 at 5:58 am
At least at first. Recent research out of the University at Buffalo (UB) conducted on rats suggests that trying more bitter foods — particularly those found in a healthy plant-based diet — changes ...
- Finding of STEMIN (stem cell inducing factor) for feasible reprogramming in plantson July 11, 2019 at 6:01 am
However, Professor Mitsuyasu Hasebe said, "Although some regulators involved in stem cell formation have been identified in angiosperms, understanding the molecular mechanisms of reprogramming and ...
- Scientists improve on photosynthesis by genetically engineering plantson January 10, 2019 at 6:50 am
Ever since Thomas Malthus issued his dire prediction in 1789 that population growth would always exceed food supply, scientists have worked to prove him wrong. So far, they've helped farmers to keep ...
- Scientists improve on photosynthesis by genetically engineering plantson January 4, 2019 at 1:11 pm
Now researchers are taking an even more audacious step: reprogramming plants to make photosynthesis more efficient. And it seems to be paying off. Tobacco plants that were genetically engineered to ...
- UCR Plant Cell Biologist Elected to National Academy of Scienceson May 1, 2018 at 10:01 am
He subsequently built on this discovery to develop synthetic hormone mimics and other chemical tools that can be used to improve drought tolerance and reprogram plant physiology to deliver improved ...
- HASEBE Reprogramming Evolutionon April 14, 2018 at 10:40 am
This project seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the plastic nature of plant cells. We used the moss Physcomitrella patens as a model because of its high reprogramming rate, the ...
- New insight into 'immortal' plant cellson December 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm
A new study has revealed an undiscovered reprogramming mechanism that allows plants to maintain fitness down the generations. The John Innes Centre team led by Dr Xiaoqi Feng made the discovery when ...
- To Make Precision Medicine, Scientists Study the Circadian Rhythms in Plantson November 27, 2017 at 8:58 am
Further pathogen recognition sends alert signals deep into the plant tissue, activating an arsenal of defense responses, including reprogramming of gene expression, production of antimicrobial ...
via Bing News