Research comes to fruition

Posted by hct16 at Nov 02, 2012 02:35 PM |
University of Leicester biologists discover plant cell regulation process affects chloroplasts
Research comes to fruition

Arabidopsis seedlings of three different genotypes grown in sectors (clockwide from top: Wild-type plants, ppi1 single mutant plants and sp1 ppi1 double mutant). Graphics: Paul Jarvis and Qihua Ling

Biologists may have unearthed the potential to manipulate the functions of chloroplasts, the parts of plant cells responsible for photosynthesis.

Researchers in the University of Leicester’s Department of Biology discovered that chloroplasts are affected by the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) – a process which causes the breakdown of unwanted proteins in cells, previously thought to only act on central parts of the cell.

As a result, the researchers believe they may be able to use specific proteins to regulate the functions of chloroplasts – such as the conversion of chloroplasts into highly-pigmented chloroplasts during the ripening of fruit.

Professor Paul Jarvis, of the University’s Department of Biology, has led the project since its inception in 2000. The results of this latest study, Chloroplast Biogenesis is Regulated by Direct Action of the Ubiquitin-Proteasome System, is due to be published in the journal Science on Friday, November 2.

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