Navigation Links
How to build crops that can beat aluminum's toxic effects
Date:10/3/2008

Researchers may have found the key to engineering plants capable of thriving in environments laden with toxic aluminum, according to a report published online on October 2nd in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. Aluminum (Al)a metal that is generally plentiful in the earth's crustcauses particular problems for farmers in South America, Africa, and Indonesia, where acidic environments turn the metal into a form that stunts the growth of plants and especially plant roots.

" We found that a single change in one plant factor required for monitoring of and response to DNA damage results in a profound increase in Al tolerance," said Paul Larsen of the University of California-Riverside.

That discovery was unexpected, he said, because scientists had believed Al could have a wide range of detrimental effects, binding to virtually any negatively charged molecule within cells. If that were true, getting around Al toxicity would be no easy task since any single change in plants would result in only incremental increases in Al tolerance.

" Surprisingly, we found that elimination of just one factor results in a mutant root that can now thrive in an Al toxic environment," Larsen said. The critical factor, known as AtATR, serves as a "checkpoint" for cell division, he explained. Its job is to assess whether a cell should divide or not, on the basis of the integrity of the cell's DNA. "Mutations that disrupt the function of AtATR effectively destroy this self-assessment activity and allow cells that otherwise would be forced to differentiate [into mature plant tissue] to continue dividing."

The results present a new view of the causes of Al toxicity. Rather than suffering from the metal's cumulative toxic effects as had been believed, it appears Al itself triggers the AtATR-controlled self-assessment pathway to shut down growth.

The findings made in the model plant Arabidopsis offer "readymade" tools for genetically engineering crop plants incapable of restricting root growth in response to Al toxicity, Larsen said. He anticipates that introduction of the mutant versions of AtATR into crop plants would override the existing assessment mechanisms and allow for continued cell division in soils that would normally inhibit root growth.

The new results may offer insight into Al toxicity not only in economically important agricultural crops, but also in animals, given that ATR genes are universally found in plants and animals, where they serve in various capacities related to DNA-damage assessment.

" To date, no one has been able to discern which targets of Al are critical to the manifestation of Al toxicity in either plant or animals, partly due to the predicted complexity of Al toxicity," he said. "This work clearly argues that DNA damage and response to this damage is paramount."


'/>"/>

Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. KAUST and IBM to build 1 of the fastest and most powerful supercomputers
2. Laminin builds the neuromuscular synapse
3. Building a stronger roof over your head: 3 little pigs project begins first tests
4. Pesticide build-up could lead to poor honey bee health
5. Caltech engineers build mini drug-producing biofactories in yeast
6. Green roofs differ in building cooling, water handling capabilities
7. Building bridges between the clinic and the laboratory
8. Tips on how to build a better home for biological parts
9. 1/3 of reef-building corals face extinction
10. NJIT architect professor advocates best-building practices for high wind regions
11. How to build a plant
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 No ... but researchers at the New York University Tandon ... of Engineering have found that partial similarities between ... systems used in mobile phones and other electronic ... The vulnerability lies in the fact ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017 Today HYPR Corp. , leading ... component of the HYPR platform is officially FIDO® ... security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune 500 ... secured over 15 million users across the financial services ... home product suites and physical access represent a growing ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... LOS ANGELES , March 30, 2017  On ... Hack the Genome hackathon at ... This exciting two-day competition will focus on developing health ... experience. Hack the Genome is ... has been tremendous. The world,s largest companies in the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... USDM Life Sciences , the leading risk ... industries, is pleased to announce Holger Braemer as Vice President of its ... based in Germany. , Braemer is an integral part of USDM’s expansion of ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... , ... April 20, 2017 , ... NetDimensions appoints Bill ... , With over 20 years of experience in the learning technologies industry, Mastin joins ... company within Learning Technologies Group plc (LTG). At LEO, Mastin served as SVP of ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... MA (PRWEB) , ... April 20, 2017 , ... ... brightness light sources for advanced technology applications, announced today that Chief Executive Officer ... (NAAB). , SEMI is the global industry association connecting the electronics ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... ... unique intellectual property (IP) sharing and commercialization model. , The Center for Advancing ... main component of this effort is bringing the IP to the attention of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: