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Crop Biotech Update

Study Explains Why Plants Grow Less in Hot Environments

April 10, 2019

Plants have developed a complex system that when exposed to extreme environments such as hot temperatures, their energy is diverted towards survival instead of being used for growth. Scientists from Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) in Japan reported that two transcription factors, ANAC044 and ANACO85, are vital in such mechanism in Arabidopsis, and this provides clues on how to modulate growth of important agricultural crops. The results of their study is published in eLife.

In previous studies, NAIST Professor Masaaki Umeda and team reported that SOG1 is activated by DNA damage and regulates almost all genes induced by the damage, while Rep-MYBs are stabilized in DNA damage conditions to suppress cell division. In the latest study, Umeda's research team shows that ANAC044 and ANAC085 act as a bridge between SOG1 and Rep-MYB. They found that ANAC044 and ANAC085 are essential for root growth retardation and stem cell death, but not for DNA repair. Specifically, ANAC044 and ANAC085 were responsible for preventing the cell cycle from proceeding from G2 phase to mitosis in response to the DNA damage. This implies that ANAC044 and ANAC085 serve as gatekeepers in the progression from the G2 phase in the cell cycle under abiotic stress conditions.

The study shows a new mechanism that optimizes organ growth under stressful conditions. Thus, the researchers recommend other scientists to consider ANAC044 and ANAC085 in increasing plant productivity.

For more details, read the original article from NAIST and the research article in eLife.