Molecular conductors help plants respond to drought

Molecular conductors help plants respond to drought.
The results, which are detailed in the November 4 issue of Science, may help in developing new technologies to optimize water use in plants.
"A plant’s response to a stressor is a highly complex process at the molecular level, with hundreds of genes involved," says senior author Joseph Ecker, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, professor and director of Salk’s Genomic Analysis Laboratory and holder of the Salk International Council Chair in Genetics.
Just as humans have hormones such as adrenaline that help us cope with threats, plants have a few key hormones that allow them to respond to stressors in their environment.
One of these is abscisic acid (ABA), a plant hormone involved in seed development and water optimization.
Using a technique that maps where these regulatory proteins bind to DNA, the team defined key factors that coordinate gene expression, allowing for an efficient cellular response to changing conditions.
"With this network view, we can see that some of these components are targeted by the same master regulator proteins, which suggests precise and coordinated genetic control," says Song.
"Molecular conductors help plants respond to drought: Scientists find key players in complex plant response to stress, offering clues to coping with drier conditions."
ScienceDaily, 3 November 2016.
Retrieved June 8, 2017 from Salk Institute.

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