Biotech Updates

Wisconsin Researchers Identify Key Pathway for Plant Cell Growth

January 29, 2014

A research group from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has reported the discovery of a hormone and receptor that control cell expansion in plants. Led by biochemist Mike Sussman, the group describes a signaling pathway that regulates cell expansion in the root cells of Arabidopsis plants. The study describes a hormone secreted by the plant and a surface receptor known as a protein kinase. The hormone uses the receptor to influence a cell's ability to elongate, to accommodate the growth and development of roots, stems, leaves, and other plant parts.

Sussman explains that very little is known about the basic molecular mechanisms that regulate plant growth. Their discovery is important because it is the first such pathway found for Plant Kingdom, revealing details of how a particular hormone docks with a cell and influences its growth. The finding may be a harbinger for new ways to promote and regulate plant growth, including crops of vast economic importance.

For more information about this research, read the news release available at