How do Plants survive Heat Stress?

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Global warming has adverse affects on human and animal life and survival on the planet. Plants are no exception to this. The increasing temperatures negatively affect plant growth, challenging the existence of sensitive flora. The adverse affects of increasing temperature on plants otherwise termed as ‘Heat stress’ also results in poor yields of cultivated crops that support the demands of an exponentially growing population.

Figure. Arabidopsis plants grown in a petri dish exposed to non-stress or heat stress conditions (A) control plants. (B), (C) and (D) Plants overexpressing DPB3-1 .
Figure. Arabidopsis plants grown in a petri dish exposed to non-stress or heat stress conditions
(A) control plants. (B), (C) and (D) Plants overexpressing DPB3-1 .

Researchers from University of Tokyo, Japan International centre for Agricultural Sciences and RIKEN have identified a novel molecular mechanism that helps plants in fighting heat stress. In a model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, scientists have identified DPB3-1 as a novel interacting protein with DREB2A (Dehydration-responsive element-binding protein 2A) transcriptional factor in inducing the expression of genes involved in heat stress tolerance. The experimental findings showed that overexpression of DPB3-1 in Arabidopsis enhanced the expression of a subset of heat stress-inducible DREB2A target genes but did not affect dehydration-inducible genes. Similarly, the depletion of DPB3-1 expression resulted in reduced expression of heat stress-inducible genes. Scientists have also identified the association of DPB3-1 with NF-YA and NF-YB proteins to enhance the heat stress-inducible gene expression with the cooperation of DREB2A. This means that DPB3-1 promotes heat stress tolerance in plant without affecting their growth.

The research findings give a hope to apply this novel mechanism in developing crop plants that can efficiently handle the heat stress without compromising the yield or productivity. These findings were published in The Plant Cell journal.

Source and Link for the article: http://www.plantcell.org/content/26/12/4954

Image modified from: http://bit.ly/17pvEPT

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