Research team finds protein family that can help plants grow on salt

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology | Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology
A team led Dr. Staffan Persson, formerly of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Germany and now a professor at the University of Melbourne in Australia, recently identified a protein family that can help plants to grow on salt.

It is estimated that 20 percent of the total and 33 percent of the irrigated agricultural fields across the globe are negatively affected by high salt.

Further, the team explained a process for how these proteins aid the plants to produce their biomass under salt stress conditions.

Past research groups led by Persson have shown that the cellulose producing protein complex, called cellulose synthase, interacts with, and is guided by, an intracellular polymer structure, called microtubules. This interaction contributes to the shape and stability of plant cells.

The newly discovered protein family supports the cellulose synthase machinery under salt stress conditions, and was named Companions of Cellulose synthase (CC).

“We show that these proteins, which we called CC proteins, are part of the cellulose synthase complex during cellulose synthesis," Persson said.

The research group demonstrated that while the control plants could maintain their microtubules intact, the plants lacking the CC activity were unable to do so.

The group’s discovery of the CC proteins could promote future generation of salt-tolerant crop plants.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology 1 Am Mühlenberg Potsdam, BB - 14476

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