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Rosario scientists identify the secret of “sun protection” in plants

Certain proteins participate in the defense against UV-B radiation in the leaves. And they also perform other functions that could favor the production of biofuels.

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Científicas-de-Rosario-identifican-el-secreto-de-la-“protección-solar”

 Plants  require absorbing photons of sunlight to perform  photosynthesis  and generate energy to grow, but they are also exposed to damage from ultraviolet radiation (UV-B). Now,  four Rosario scientists  have identified a  molecular factor  that gives them resistance to these ravages.

Researchers from the Center for Photosynthetic and Biochemical Studies (CEFOBI) reached these results after conducting  experiments  with the  Arabidopsis thaliana  plant, a common model in plant physiology studies that shares genes with crops such as wheat and corn.

“We should see if this resistance to  UV radiation  in Arabidopsis is also observed in plants of agronomic interest. And if this were to happen, we would also have to study how these plants would respond in natural environments, given that all our experiments were conducted under controlled conditions in the culture chamber,” said the project manager, Dr. Paula Casati, researcher, told the Cyta-Leloir Agency. CEFOBI, which depends on the National University of Rosario (UNR) and CONICET.

Wise Nature

As the journal 'Plant, Cell & Environment' reveals, CEFOBI researchers evaluated the radiation role of FAS1 and FAS2 proteins, which are part of the CAF-1 complex, which regulates the binding of certain proteins (histones) to the DNA being formed.

“The leaves of plants that are deficient in FAS1 and FAS2 proteins appear to be more resistant to radiation,” said Casati, also a CONICET researcher.

The authors of the study observed that CAF-1 deficient plant leaves accumulate more pigments that protect them from radiation, have thicker walls and suffer less damage to   DNA  , so they acquire greater resistance compared to wild  plants  . On the contrary, they also observed that the roots respond in a different way, and would not activate the same protection mechanisms.

“These findings in different parts of the plant suggest that there would be a different regulation of UV responses mediated by these  proteins  in different tissues,” said Rosarina, who won the 2017 L'Oréal-UNESCO National Prize “For women in science.”

“On the other hand, CAF1's role in regulating cell wall synthesis can also be interesting as a biotechnological aspect for biofuels,” said Casati.

Three other CEFOBI  scientists  participated in the work: Evangelina Maulión (first author of the study), María Sol Gómez and Claudia Bustamante.

Source:  dicyt.com 

Publication Date: 06/12/2019

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