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Crop Biotech Update

Two New Proteins Connected to Plant Development Identified

May 31, 2017

Two new proteins, RICE1 and RICE2, were discovered by a team of researchers led by biochemist Dr. Xiuren Zhang from Texas A&M AgriLife Research. The proteins could help study better ways to regulate plant structure and the ability to resist crop stresses such as drought.

Dr. Zhang said that understanding RNA silencing is important so that researchers can use the technique to help a plant overcome barriers to growth or ability to deal with unfavorable environments by tweaking the amount of RNA. A key player in RNA silencing is RISC (RNA-induced Silencing Complex), which contains microRNA and enzymes called AGOs. "MicroRNA starts as twins, so to speak, but one of the twins leaves and disappears when AGO protein moves in," Zhang said.

Using proteomic analysis, Dr. Zhang and colleagues deciphered the constituents of one kind of RISC in Arabidopsis and found proteins RICE, or RISC-Interacting Clearing Exoribonuclease. RICE1 was found to have a ring-like structure with six identical molecules. Analysis of the shape of RICE1 revealed its active region which is responsible for degrading RNA fragments, hidden on the adjacent site of two RICE molecules.

For more details, read AgriLife Today.