Stress signal

The paper:
E. Baena-González et al., “A central integrator of transcription networks in plant stress and energy signaling,” Nature, 448:938–42, 2007. (Cited in 66 papers)

The finding:
Research on how plants tolerate stress has largely been focused on studying the mechanisms and pathways of how plants respond to specific, isolated sources of stress, such as drought, salt, or temperature. But scientists from Harvard Medical School suspected that plants contained mechanisms that enabled them to respond to multiple stressors at the same time. They found that protein kinases KIN10 and KIN11 reprogram gene expression in Arabidopsis to produce a convergent metabolic response to varying levels of darkness, sugar, and other stressors.

The bonus:
The Arabidopsis protein kinase KIN10/11 has homologues in yeast (Snf1) and mammals (AMPK), all of which share a common role in energy signaling. This connection suggests that “the link between metabolism [and] stress resistance… involves...

The impact:
The “seminal paper led to an explosion of interest in the field,” says Sjef Smeekens, a molecular plant biologist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Since its publication, several papers have confirmed the findings.

The future:
Rolland and Elena Baena-González have since set up their own labs at the K.U. Leuven and Gulbenkian Institute in Portugal, respectively, to learn more about the KIN10/11 response.

Genes reprogrammed by KIN10/11 control:
Catabolic pathway
Trehalose metabolism
Ribosome biogenesis

Interested in reading more?

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