Exploring the Gene Patterns of Milkvetch Growth Regulators

Jenn Hoskins
7th May, 2024

Exploring the Gene Patterns of Milkvetch Growth Regulators

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers identified nine growth-regulating genes in the medicinal plant Astragalus mongholicus
  • These genes are involved in the plant's development and response to environmental stress
  • The findings could help improve the growth and quality of this plant, used in traditional Chinese medicine
In the realm of botany and traditional medicine, the plant Astragalus membranaceus, commonly used in Chinese herbal remedies, stands out for its therapeutic benefits. A particular species within this genus, Astragalus mongholicus, has garnered attention not only for its health-promoting properties but also for the rising demand in the market. However, the quality of this plant varies across different cultivation areas, presenting a challenge for consistency in its medicinal value. One key to understanding and potentially improving plant growth and quality lies in the study of growth-regulating factors (GRFs), which are proteins that act as transcription factors, turning genes on or off during plant development. Until recently, the GRF gene family in A. mongholicus had not been explored. Researchers from Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine have embarked on a quest to fill this knowledge gap[1]. They conducted a comprehensive genome-wide analysis to identify and characterize the GRF gene family in A. mongholicus, discovering nine AmGRF genes. These genes were classified into subfamily V, indicating a specific evolutionary lineage within the larger GRF family. GRFs have been extensively studied in other plants, revealing their pivotal roles in various growth processes. For instance, in Arabidopsis thaliana, a model organism in plant biology, GRFs are involved in the development of organs like gynoecia and anthers, as well as in leaf growth[2][3]. Similarly, in rice, GRFs have been linked to stem elongation and vegetative growth[4]. These findings lay the groundwork for understanding how GRFs might influence plant development in A. mongholicus. The team at Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine moved beyond identifying the AmGRF genes by also examining the promoter regions of these genes. Promoters are sections of DNA that control when and where a gene is expressed. The researchers predicted various cis-elements in these regions, which are sequences that respond to external stimuli such as abiotic stress, growth, developmental signals, and hormones. This suggests that AmGRFs could play a role in how A. mongholicus adapts to its environment and regulates its growth. To understand the expression patterns of these newly identified AmGRF genes, the researchers used transcriptomic data and validated their findings through real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), a technique for measuring the amount of specific DNA sequences. They found that the AmGRFs were expressed in roots, stems, and leaves, with the highest levels in the leaves. Particularly, AmGRF1 and AmGRF8 showed higher expression in roots, while AmGRF1 and AmGRF9 were more active in stems. These expression patterns are consistent with the roles of GRFs in other plants, where they are often most active in growing tissues[3][4][5]. For example, in tobacco, a plant with significant economic and research value, GRF genes are highly expressed in active growth regions and respond to hormonal treatments[5]. This parallel suggests a universal role of GRFs in plant development and stress responses across different species. The implications of this study are significant for both agriculture and medicine. By understanding the functions of AmGRFs, scientists can potentially manipulate these genes to improve the growth and quality of A. mongholicus, ensuring a consistent supply of high-quality medicinal material. Moreover, the study adds to the growing body of knowledge on the role of GRFs in plant biology, providing insights that could be applied to other crops and medicinal plants. In conclusion, the identification and characterization of GRF genes in A. mongholicus by researchers at Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine mark an important step in understanding the genetic factors that control the growth and development of this valuable medicinal plant. The study not only contributes to the field of plant biology but also holds promise for enhancing the cultivation and quality of A. mongholicus, which could have a direct impact on the traditional medicine industry.

BiotechGeneticsPlant Science


Main Study

1) Genome-wide identification and expression pattern analysis of the GRF transcription factor family in Astragalus mongholicus.

Published 6th May, 2024


Related Studies

2) GROWTH-REGULATING FACTOR and GRF-INTERACTING FACTOR Specify Meristematic Cells of Gynoecia and Anthers.


3) The AtGRF family of putative transcription factors is involved in leaf and cotyledon growth in Arabidopsis.

Journal: The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology, Issue: Vol 36, Issue 1, Oct 2003

4) Whole genome analysis of the OsGRF gene family encoding plant-specific putative transcription activators in rice (Oryza sativa L.).

Journal: Plant & cell physiology, Issue: Vol 45, Issue 7, Jul 2004

5) Genome-wide identification and analysis of the growth-regulating factor family in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum).


Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙