Biotech Updates

Researchers Discover Molecular 'Samurai Sword' Directs Plant Growth

June 28, 2017

Researchers from FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF) and Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands reveal the secrets of a special protein that conducts plant growth. Katanin (named after katana, the Japanese word for samurai sword) severs microtubules at the right time and the right place. As a result, microtubules grow in the right direction and they guide further growth and plant cell division, and consequently plant growth.

The researchers found that the ‘samurai sword protein' katanin was found to play a crucial role in a mechanism that carefully manages the growth of the microtubules. Katanin was thought for a long time to bring chaos as it severed microtubules. The research group found, however, that the protein does not sever indisciminately, and works according to a fixed strategy, which guarantees that all of the microtubules grow in the right direction.

For more information, read the AMOLF News.