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Press release | Scientific result | Health ＆ life sciences | Photosynthesis | Biofuel
Researchers at CNRS, CEA and Université d'Aix-Marseille  have demonstrated that an ancient signaling pathway inherited from bacteria impacts plant growth and development. Chloroplast, the compartment responsible for plant photosynthesis, is a key component of this signaling pathway. Understanding how this signaling pathway functions would allow for development of strategies to protect crops against climatic change and to improve photosynthesis so as to generate biofuels and other valuable products. These findings were published in Plant Cell on 25th February 2016.
CEA, CNRS and Université d’Aix-Marseille have investigated a signaling pathway,
scarcely studied until now, which was already present in the bacterial ancestor
of chloroplast, the compartment where photosynthesis takes place. This
signaling pathway is dependent on a molecule that plays an important role in
bacterial stress response: Guanosine tetraphosphate. By genetically modifying
the guanosine tetraphosphate content in plant chloroplast, the researchers have
shown that it inhibits chloroplast activity, impacting both function and size. Surprisingly,
the researchers have also shown that this bacterial signaling pathway plays a
key role in communication between the chloroplast and the cell nucleus that
regulates plant growth and development.
pathway could be used to optimize the photosynthetic efficiency of plants
subject to water and nutrient deficiencies, with potential applications in
agriculture and reactor-based crop development for green chemistry and
algae-based biofuel solutions.
takes place in chloroplast, which arose from an endosymbiotic relationship
between a unicellular eukaryote organism (common
ancestor of plants and animals) and a bacterium over a billion years ago. This
relationship enables photosynthetic eukaryotes (green plants and algae) to
support ecosystems throughout the planet.
 Cell characterized by the presence of a nuclear membrane separating two
the nucleus, where DNA is stored in the form of linear
chromosomes, and the cytoplasm, where most metabolic processes take place.
Sugliani, M., Abdelkefi, H., Ke, H., Bouveret, E., Robaglia, C., Caffarri, S., Field, B. (2016).
An Ancient Bacterial Signaling Pathway Regulates Chloroplast Function
to Influence Growth and Development in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 10.1105/tpc.16.00045, online le 24/02/2016
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.