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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Discover a Protein that Can Help Plants Tolerate Saline Conditions

September 28, 2016

Scientists from the University of Adelaide discovered that a protein that regulates salt balance in animals works similarly with plants. Their findings which are published in the Plant Cell and Environment journal may help scientists modify plants to respond to high salt and low water conditions.

Proteins called aquaporins are present in both plants and animals. They function as pores by transporting water across membranes and play vital roles in regulating water content of cells. According to Prof. Steve Tyerman, lead author of the study, aquaporins function in the water filtration activities in the kidney while in plants, they filter the water that goes through the plant. However, in certain conditions, some aquaporins allow sodium ions to pass through it. Scientists have been wondering which pores enable salt to enter plant roots. Since a particular type of double barreled aquaporin is found to be abundant in the surface of roots, it could be the answer.

Read more from the University of Adelaide.