From: University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Published August 22, 2017 02:53 PM

Plants Under Heat Stress Must Act Surprisingly Quickly to Survive

In new results reported in The Plant Cell, molecular biologist Elizabeth Vierling at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and colleagues in India and China report finding a crucial mechanism that plants need to recover from heat stress.

She points out that high temperature damage to crops is increasing with climate change, and uncovering mechanisms of heat tolerance are important not only as basic knowledge, but for possible future attempts to enhance plants’ ability to survive high temperatures.

She says, “One of our most interesting findings is the fact that stressed plants not only need to produce new proteins to survive the stress, they need to make them right away. We found that a delay of even six hours of new protein translation will inhibit optimal growth and reproduction. The plants might not outright die, but they are severely impaired without the rapid synthesis of these new proteins.” This dramatic time sensitivity of protein translation was not known before, she adds.

“Plants can’t move to avoid unfavorable growth conditions such as insufficient water availability or extremes of temperature,” Vierling explains. “When confronted with stressful environmental conditions, you may not see any changes, but in order to survive plants are busily responding, often by synthesizing new proteins in a process called translation.”

Read more at University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Image: Elizabeth Vierling (Credit: University of Massachusetts at Amherst)

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