Biotech Updates

Plant Growth Study Sheds Light on Cancer Research

June 15, 2022

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) researchers discovered how specific plant proteins control a photoreceptor in plants. This discovery might lead to new strategies to control growth in both agriculture and cancer research.

Understanding how plants process light is vital in enhancing crop yields. Light dictates when the plant would grow or flower. Plants search for light using proteins called photoreceptors. CSHL Assistant Professor Ullas Pedmale and team revealed how proteins UBP12 and UBP13 regulate photoreceptor CRY2. CRY photoreceptors are common to both plants and humans. They are linked to human diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and a number of brain disorders. CRY2 helps control growth in humans and plants. While unchecked growth in plants makes them less viable, unchecked growth in humans causes cancer. “If we understand growth, we can cure cancer,” Pedmale said.

The research team found that in humans and other organisms, versions of UBP12 and UBP13 protect CRY photoreceptors from degradation. However, in plants, the opposite was observed. UBP12 and UBP13 were actually helping degrade CRY2 instead.

Read the news release from CSHL.

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