Breakthrough in the understanding of plant growth, development

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Plants grow through cell division, cell elongation and differentiation of cells within tissues. These processes provide the structure of the plant. At the same time, plants can react very quickly to stimuli: the shoot bends towards light, and roots respond to gravity. “For the first time, we begin to understand how those quick responses can combine with the processes that preserve the structure of the plant, in an interplay between the hormone auxin and regulatory proteins”, says Professor Ben Scheres of Wageningen University. The breakthrough was published in the prestigious journal Nature.

The plant hormone auxin is a jack of all trades: it has a multitude of tasks in the plant. “It influences the development of stem cells into differentiated tissues, but also plays a role in rapid responses to changes in the environment. How can a signal molecule control such very different processes? That is the topic of our research”, explains Scheres. He has been studying plant growth regulation for 20 years, initially at Utrecht University, and now at the Plant Developmental Biology Group of Wageningen University. One of his postdoctoral researchers has continued the published work as group leader in Finland.

Regulatory proteins

Besides auxin, four regulatory proteins (transcription factors) – under the collective name PLETHORA (PLT) – are involved. These proteins turn genes on or off. Auxin itself appears to control the rapid responses of the plant directly. Within only a few minutes, a root changes direction to follow a change in the direction of gravity. The regulatory proteins in turn affect the location and growth of the zones in which cell division, cell elongation and differentiation take place. These processes are much slower. The location and growth of the zones depends on the gradient of the PLTs. “Previously, we thought that the PLT gradient was linked directly to the auxin gradient. But this does not explain the stable formation of structures under rapidly changing conditions. Many feedback loops and dependencies appear to be involved in these processes. The growth affects the gradients, and the gradients in turn affect the growth. We already understood many components, but now our understanding of the complete picture is much better”, says Scheres.

The study is a good example of what systems biology can do: an interplay between simulations within mathematical models and focused experiments.

Fundamental investment

This involves fundamental research with a clear societal aspect, Scheres explains. “We are faced with the challenge of providing more food for the world. We not only need fast solutions, but investment in fundamental research is also required. You can take new directions only a through better understanding of growth and development, the most fundamental processes in the plant. With this understanding, you will ultimately have better control in breeding or cultivation”, explains Scheres. He closes with an example. “The root has only a small zone in which it can make lateral roots. If you understand the switches for this zone, then you can change the architecture. In this way you can perhaps develop a plant with a better and more productive root system.”


Prev 1 2 Next All



Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...


Comments (0) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left


Tube Series (TS) Conveyors

USC’s Tube Series Conveyors combine the gentleness of the signature Seed Series with the traditional stability of a tube-style conveyor, ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form