by Staff Writers
Brussels, Belgium (SPX) Apr 20, 2012
Have you ever wondered why stems grow upwards and roots downwards? Why plants always seem to turn towards the light and climbing plants run up the trellis rather than down? But maybe not that simple, since plant hormones - and auxin is a plant hormone - are regulated by complex combinations of various processes.
Elke Barbez, Jurgen Kleine-Vehn and Jiri Friml, connected to VIB and UGent recently identified an important new link in the transport of auxin through the plant, resulting in auxin being stored at specific sites. The results were published by the authoritative journal Nature.
Auxin surrenders its secrets
The stem needs to straighten out as soon as possible to be able to absorb the sun's rays efficiently; therefore more auxin will be delivered to the underside of the stem than to the topside, resulting in the underside growing faster and the stem straightening out.
For the same reason, plants in front of windows will always turn to the light. This dynamic regulation of auxin transport allows plants to take optimal advantage of local and changing conditions.
A new means of transport for auxin?
PILS proteins are vital for auxin-dependent plant growth and regulate the intracellular storage of the hormone. It is exactly this compartmentalizing of auxin that seems functionally important for the various developmental processes.
Growing crops more efficiently: the right amount of auxin in the right place
The researchers hope to contribute to the development of more efficient growing processes by continuing to unravel auxin transport processes.
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Using maths to feed the world
Nottingham UK (SPX) Apr 19, 2012
In the race to breed better crops to feed the increasing world population, scientists at The University of Nottingham are using maths to find out how a vital plant hormone affects growth. Gibberellin is a hormone which plays a key part in development throughout the plant, from the root to the flowers and leaves. The hormone works within a complex network of molecules inside the plant, tran ... read more