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Tokyo University of Science Researchers Unveil New Findings on Plant ROS Production : What is ROS production in plants?

Tokyo University of Science Researchers Unveil New Findings on Plant ROS Production : What is ROS production in plants?

Tokyo, January 24, 2024 – In a groundbreaking study published in Physiologia Plantarum, researchers from Tokyo University of Science (TUS) have made significant strides in understanding how plants regulate the production of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). This discovery sheds light on fundamental processes shared by all land plants and could have far-reaching implications for agriculture and environmental remediation.

ROS, often considered toxic byproducts of biological processes, play critical roles in plant growth, stress response, reproduction, and immunity. The study, led by Professor Kazuyuki Kuchitsu and his team, reveals the mechanisms by which an important ROS-generating enzyme is activated in plants.

The TUS research team focused on NADPH oxidases (RBOHs), enzymes crucial in both plants and animals, including humans. They discovered two activation mechanisms for these enzymes. The binding of calcium ions at specific structures in addition, a chemical modification called phosphorylation. However, the interaction between these two mechanisms was not well understood until now.

In their experiments using the liverwort model Marchantia polymorpha and genetically modified cell lines, the team demonstrated that the activation of the ROS-generating RBOH, MpRBOHB. Thus, requires an increase in intracellular calcium concentration and binding with calcium ions at two regions in EF-hands spanning about 200 amino acids.

Further examination revealed two serine amino acid residues whose phosphorylation increases the calcium binding affinity of MpRBOHB. “The binding of calcium ions acts as a molecular switch that activates MpRBOHB, and the phosphorylation of two specific serine residues facilitates this binding,” explains Prof. Kuchitsu. “These mechanisms, orchestrated by a conserved regulatory domain, are fundamental processes governing all land plant RBOHs.”

This breakthrough has the potential to revolutionize the field of agriculture. By understanding how plants regulate ROS production, scientists could develop tools to artificially manipulate ROS levels in crops. This ability could lead to increased yields, enhanced resilience to pollutants or pathogens, and even the use of plants in environmental cleanup efforts.

Prof. Kuchitsu highlights the broader impact of their findings: “Appropriate control of ROS production could improve agriculture, food quality, and aid in environmental remediation. Furthermore, this work serves as an important basis for future research aimed at solving a wide range of social problems related to plants.”

In conclusion, the TUS study not only advances our understanding of plant biology but also opens up new possibilities for leveraging plant systems to address critical global challenges.

For further details, please visit: TUS Research on ROS in Plants

Tokyo University of Science

Tokyo University of Science Researchers Unveil New Findings on Plant ROS Production : What is ROS production in plants?