Study on how plants avoid sunburn can help develop drought resistant crops
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Last Updated: Wednesday, August 07, 2013, 12:15
Washington: A team of researchers has discovered a group of stress-related proteins which shows how plants avoid sunburn in intense light.

The finding could one day help biotechnologists to develop crops that can better cope with hotter, drier conditions occurring in climate change.

The study, titled "Subset of heat-shock transcription factors required for the early response of Arabidopsis to excess light," was led by researchers from Dartmouth, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Australian National University.

Too much or too little sunlight or rapidly fluctuating light conditions cause stress to plants, which have sophisticated control systems to utilize light energy for photosynthesis and simultaneously protect themselves from sunburn from very bright sunlight.

Plants perform these regulations mainly by regulating nuclear gene expression and multiple intracellular signaling pathways have been shown to play a role in the genomic response of plants to stress, but the processes are not well understood.

In this study, Professor Hou-Sung Jung and his colleagues showed that a group of transcription factors called Heat Shock Transcription Factors are responsible for fast responses of plants to changes in light intensity-from light conditions that are optimal for photosynthesis to bright light that causes sunburn.

The findings are published in the journal PNAS.


First Published: Wednesday, August 07, 2013, 12:15

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