Plant protein discovery could boost bioeconomy
Discovery of the connection between the FAP proteins and plant fatty acids could be very useful to plant scientists.
"If the researchers can understand precisely what role the proteins play in seed oil production," said Ngaki, "they might be able to modify the proteins' activity in new plant strains that produce more oil or higher quality oil than current crops."
Further, if the three proteins help plants regulate stress, plant scientists might be able to exploit that trait to develop plants that are more resistant to stress, Wurtele said. And that could allow farmers to grow crops for biorenewable fuels and chemicals on marginal land that's not suited for food crops.
All of this, she said, could point to new directions in biological studies.
"We are entering the age of predictive biology," Wurtele said. "That means harnessing computational approaches to deduce gene function, model biological processes and predict the consequences of altering a single gene to the complex biological network of an organism."