Biotech Updates

SPATULA Links Daytime Temperature and Plant Growth Rate

September 16, 2010

Plants have been known to exhibit different growth rates depending on genetic and environmental factors. Different plants also grow optimally at different temperatures, which imply that growth rate has a genetic basis. It has been observed that with moderate decrease in ambient temperature, the vegetative growth is inhibited, and this observation still lack scientific explanation.

Kate Sidaway-Lee of the University of York and colleagues discovered that the protein SPATULA (SPT), which was previously known as regulator of low temperature-responsive germination, mediates the repression of growth by cool daytime temperatures but has little or no growth-regulating role under warmer conditions. Results showed that only day time temperatures affect vegetative growth. In seedlings, warm temperatures inhibit the build up of SPT. Based on genetic analysis, the repression of SPT is not related to plant hormones or to photoreceptor as previously believed. Therefore, SPT depends on the time of the day and temperature signaling to regulate the vegetative growth rate.

Read the report of this study at