Mar 12, 2012

Discovery of a new mechanism of the biological clock of plants

Spanish researchers have discovered a new mechanism for regulating the biological clock or circadian clock of plants, through an essential protein known to TOC1, which regulates the internal rhythms in plants.

As reported by the Spanish Superior Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), the work, published in Science, change the operating model that was attributed to the biological clock of existing plants over the past ten years.

Paradigm breaking mechanism known

The plants have a biological rhythm with a period of 24 hours, which is synchronized with the light and environmental changes that occur during the day and night.

In response to these changes, a number of proteins act to regulate key processes in the plant, such as germination, growth, flowering or responses to environmental stress conditions.

So far, it was believed that the operation of a plant circadian clock depended largely on two oscillators (a set of genes), one day and another night.

In this model, activated protein genes TOC1 oscillator day, which in turn suppressed the nocturnal oscillator.

It comes out a different model

Now the work led by CSIC researcher Paloma Mas, reveals a different model in which TOC1 directly connects the two oscillators by directly regulating the expression of these genes.

The implications of the work is relevant because it defines a new structure of the circadian clock and decodes new operating mechanisms and regulation are essential in the life cycle of the plant.

Brand also new research strategies because, as Mas, “the study of the role of clock in the control of physiology and metabolism of the plant must now take into account the new structure of the oscillator, which acts as TOC1 global repressor rather than activator”.


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