Identifying Genes for Stress Management in Licorice Plants

Jim Crocker
28th March, 2024

Identifying Genes for Stress Management in Licorice Plants

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Study at CSIR-IIIM Jammu identified 181 ABC transporters in the licorice plant
  • Nine of these transporters are linked to plant growth by responding to the hormone auxin
  • Seven transporters help licorice plants handle stress, with some specifically reacting to drought
Understanding the complex network of proteins that transport various substances across cellular membranes is crucial for advancing our knowledge of plant biology and improving agricultural practices. Among these proteins, ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters play a pivotal role. They are a large family of proteins that use energy from ATP hydrolysis to transport a wide range of substrates across biological membranes, affecting processes from growth and development to stress responses[2]. Researchers at CSIR-IIIM Jammu have conducted a groundbreaking study[1] focusing on a particular plant, Glycyrrhiza glabra, commonly known as licorice. The study has expanded our understanding of ABC transporters by identifying a total of 181 members of this protein family in G. glabra, which they have classified into six subfamilies. This discovery is significant as it provides a more comprehensive view of the diversity and potential functions of these transporters in a species not previously studied in this context. The study revealed that nine of these transporters, referred to as GgABCBs, showed a significant increase in their transcript levels in response to the plant hormone auxin. Auxin is known to be a key regulator of plant growth and development, and these findings suggest that these nine ABC transporters could be important for auxin transport within the plant. The use of an auxin transport inhibitor further demonstrated that these ABC transporters are indeed responsive to auxin, as their expression was downregulated in shoots but upregulated in roots when the inhibitor was applied at higher concentrations. In an effort to understand the broader roles of these transporters, the researchers also examined their expression under various growth conditions and in response to different abiotic stresses, such as drought. They found that seven of the nine transporters were involved in the plant's response to stress, with some being induced by multiple stress factors, while others were specifically triggered by drought conditions. This study's insights into the auxin transport system are particularly valuable, as auxin not only influences plant architecture but also plays a role in how plants respond to their environment. By identifying and characterizing these transporters in G. glabra, the study lays the groundwork for future research into manipulating these transporters to develop plants that can better withstand environmental stresses. The findings of CSIR-IIIM Jammu's research build upon previous studies that have explored the structure and function of ABC transporters in other species, such as rice[3] and Arabidopsis thaliana[4]. The research in rice highlighted the dynamic nature of the ABCI subfamily and their potential roles in salt stress response[3]. Similarly, the comprehensive inventory of ABC proteins in Arabidopsis provided a foundational understanding of the diversity within this protein family[4]. Together, these studies have helped to map out the evolutionary patterns of ABC transporters and their functional roles across different plant lineages. The current study by CSIR-IIIM Jammu not only adds to the existing body of knowledge but also provides a new perspective by focusing on a species that has not been extensively studied in the context of ABC transporters. This research underscores the importance of studying a wide range of plant species to gain a more complete understanding of the complex roles that ABC transporters play in plant biology. In conclusion, the work of CSIR-IIIM Jammu represents an important step forward in our understanding of plant ABC transporters. By identifying and characterizing a large number of these proteins in licorice and demonstrating their involvement in auxin transport and stress responses, this study opens up new possibilities for improving plant resilience and productivity through biotechnological interventions.

BiotechGeneticsPlant Science


Main Study

1) A transcriptome-wide identification of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters revealed participation of ABCB subfamily in abiotic stress management of Glycyrrhiza glabra L.

Published 27th March, 2024

Related Studies

2) Role of ATP-binding cassette transporters in maintaining plant homeostasis under abiotic and biotic stresses.

3) Molecular phylogenetic study and expression analysis of ATP-binding cassette transporter gene family in Oryza sativa in response to salt stress.

4) The Arabidopsis thaliana ABC protein superfamily, a complete inventory.

Journal: The Journal of biological chemistry, Issue: Vol 276, Issue 32, Aug 2001

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