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Crop Biotech Update

VIB Researchers Discover New Mechanism for Root Development

January 20, 2016

An international team of researchers, including Kun Yue, Tom Beeckman and Ive De Smet of VIB/UGent, discovered a new cell division regulator that shapes plant root systems, PROTEIN PHOSPHATASE 2A-3 (PP2A-3). Their results could lead to new techniques to improve root architecture for higher crop yields.

Plant roots grow and branch out, tapping into the soil for water and nutrients. However, knowledge of the mechanisms that control root growth and development is limited. Working on Arabidopsis thaliana, De Smet and his team set out to find proteins that bind and interact with a known regulator of root systems, the ARABIDOPSIS CRINKLY 4 (ACR4). Their work resulted in the identification of PP2A-3 as a substrate of ACR4. Together with ACR4, PP2A-3 was shown to be part of a hub that controls cell division and root architecture.

A better understanding of mechanisms governing root development can serve as the foundation for the generation of new crop varieties with better developed root systems.

For more information, read the article on VIB.