New biochemical pathway that may develop more resilient crop varieties

phys.org | 2/21/2019 | Staff
chrismpottschrismpotts (Posted by) Level 3
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Researchers from the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, have discovered a new biochemical pathway in plants which they have named CHLORAD.

By manipulating the CHLORAD pathway, scientists can modify how plants respond to their environment. For example, the plant's ability to tolerate stresses such as high salinity can be improved.

Researchers - Results - Science - Way - Crop

The researchers hope that their results, published in Science, will open the way to new crop improvement strategies, which will be vital as we face the prospect of delivering food security for a population that is projected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050.

The CHLORAD pathway helps to regulate structures inside plant cells called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts are the organelles that define plants. Along with many other metabolic, developmental and signalling functions, chloroplasts are responsible for photosynthesis—the process whereby sunlight energy is harnessed to power the cellular activities of life.

Chloroplasts - Plants - Myriad - Plants - Agriculture

Consequently, chloroplasts are essential, not only for plants but also for the myriad ecosystems that depend on plants, and for agriculture.

Chloroplasts are composed of thousands of different proteins, most of which are made elsewhere in the cell and imported by the organelle. These proteins must all be very carefully regulated to ensure that the organelle keeps functioning properly. The CHLORAD pathway works by removing and disposing of unnecessary or damaged chloroplast proteins; hence the name CHLORAD, which stands for "chloroplast-associated protein degradation".

Professor - Paul - Jarvis - Lead - Researcher

Professor Paul Jarvis, lead researcher, said: 'Two decades on from the identification of the chloroplast protein import machinery—which delivers new proteins to chloroplasts—our discovery of the CHLORAD pathway reveals for the first time how individual, unwanted proteins are removed from chloroplasts.'

Researcher, Dr. Qihua Ling, said: 'Our previous studies showed that proteins in the chloroplast membranes are digested by a protein degradation system outside of chloroplasts. So, the key question was: How are chloroplast proteins extracted from the membrane to enable this...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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