Biotech Updates

VIB Reports New Molecular Driver of High-Temperature Adaptation in Plants

May 19, 2021

A study conducted by an international research team from Belgium, the Netherlands, United States, and the United Kingdom reveals the fundamental molecular insights into the ways that plants respond to high temperatures. The researchers have identified the protein kinase MAP4K4/TOT3 as a light signaling-independent regulator of this process.

To identify these signaling mechanisms in flowering plants, Lam Dai Vu and the team mapped modifications in specific proteins that occur when the plants are exposed to warm temperatures. They identified the protein kinase MAP4K4/TOT3 as a regulator of thermomorphogenesis in both dicots and monocots, the two fundamental structural categories of plants. Their research also indicates that this protein signaling pathway regulates thermomorphogenesis independently from other pathways, including those related to light sensing.

Climate warming has deep impacts on both plant growth and crop yield. This study identified MAP4K4/TOT3 as a new key player in plant responses to warm temperatures, and show that it also interacts with related kinases that play multifaceted roles in thermomorphogenesis. The researchers said the TOT3 complex has great potential for knowledge-based breeding warm temperature-resilient crops that can contribute to maintaining future food security in a warming climate.

For more details, read the article in VIB News.

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