Biotech Updates

Scientists Find SGR Gene Induces Color Changes in Leaves

November 3, 2016

Chlorophyll plays a central role in photosynthesis, and in the process, a flow of electrons is created by removing one from a molecule and transferring it to another. Autumn leaf colors occur when chlorophyll degrades as part of leaf senescence, triggered when an enzyme called Mg-dechelatase extracts magnesium (Mg) from chlorophyll. Researchers from Hokkaido University have shown that the Stay-Green (SGR) gene known to be involved in chlorophyll degradation codes for Mg-dechelatase. Stay-Green mutants allow leaves to stay green during senescence.

The research team induced SGR in fully green leaves and found that chlorophyll levels were reduced. Their experiment strongly suggests that the SGR gene encodes Mg-dechelatase that extracts magnesium from chlorophyll, giving further understanding of how the pigment degrades.

For more details, read the new release at the Hokkaido University website.