Blue gene regulation helps plants respond properly to light

phys.org | 6/19/2018 | Staff
katz1234 (Posted by) Level 3
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Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) have discovered a process through which gene expression in plants is regulated by light. Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, the study found that blue light triggers a shift in which portion of a gene is ultimately expressed.

When a new seedling first emerges from the ground and is exposed to sunlight, in particular, the blue light, it undergoes a series of physiological changes that will allow it to grow and carry out photosynthesis. These changes are possible because blue light triggers the expression of certain genes that are normally silenced in the dark. The CSRS team adapted two new molecular biological techniques for use with plants to reveal how this happens.

Gene - Expression - Process - Gene - DNA

Gene expression is a multi-step process. After a gene's DNA is transcribed to RNA, the RNA is read from one end to the other. Areas that are read first are 'upstream' of those that are read later. If a 'start' code is encountered, that region of RNA will be translated into a protein. The trick is that a single gene can contain more than one start code, each one triggering the translation of different portions of the RNA. The team at CSRS lead by Minami Matsui in collaboration with Shintaro Iwasaki at the RIKEN RNA Systems Biochemistry laboratory found that for certain genes, exposure to blue light changes which start code is used, ensuring that the main sequence is translated into protein that...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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