Researchers detail genetic mechanisms that govern growth and drought response in plants

ScienceDaily | 2/24/2017 | Staff
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Yanhai Yin, a professor of genetics, development and cell biology and a Plant Sciences Institute Faculty Scholar, said the biological processes that oversee plant growth and drought response often clash with one another. Yin said scientists have long observed the tendency of plants to slow their growth in times of drought to conserve energy and fight stress, but the genetic mechanisms that guide those interactions were poorly understood.

Yin is the corresponding author of a study published in the peer-reviewed academic journal Nature Communications, which shows those interactions depend on a pair of genes known as BES1 and RD26.

BES1 - Plant - Growth - Presence - Hormone

BES1 controls plant growth and is activated by the presence of a hormone called brassinosteroid, according to the paper. BES1 also influences thousands of the other genes, making it "an important switch" in the overall functioning of a plant, Yin said.

The gene known as RD26 is activated, on the other hand, when plants are challenged with drought stress, Yin said. This causes growth to slow and the plant to conserve energy.

Pathways - BES1 - RD26 - Study

The two pathways, BES1 and RD26, often inhibit one another, according to the study.

"The two responses seem to clash with one another, and under normal...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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