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Crop Biotech Update

Enzyme Plays Key Role in Plant Response to Cold

October 24, 2018

Researchers from The University of Western Australia (UWA) have found that the enzyme ATP Synthase plays a critical role in how plants respond to the cold. Dr. Nicolas Taylor from UWA's School of Molecular Sciences and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology (PEB) said that climate changes make it increasingly important to understand how plants respond to temperature.

Dr. Taylor said that their study observed plants in near-freezing conditions where they saw a decrease in the production of ATP, a plant cell's main energy currency, which led to reduced growth. "Based on a number of international studies, it was previously thought that other components of energy production were more sensitive than this enzyme, however, we were surprised to identify ATP Synthase as the culprit."

Dr. Sandra Kerbler, from UWA and PEB said the benefits of understanding a crucial enzyme for energy production being so sensitive to cold was of great use to the agricultural industry and to the future of producing frost-resistant crops. "The research has changed previous thoughts of how plants cope with temperature stress and has highlighted new angles for investigation," Dr. Kerbler said.

For more details, read the news article from UWA.