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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 26 December, 2020

  • 6 Min Read

IISER scientists identify the gene that greens plants

IISER scientists identify the gene that greens plants

GS Paper III S&T (Prelims 2021)

What is the news?

  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) have identified a gene that facilitates in the greening of plants by playing a crucial role in regulating the levels of protochlorophyllide — an intermediate in the biosynthesis of the green pigment chlorophyll.
  • The study was recently published in the prestigious U.K. journal New Phytologist.

How is the synthesis of Chlorophyll?

  • The synthesis of chlorophyll in plants is a lengthy, multi­step process.
  • When a seedling emerges from under the soil it must quickly synthesise chlorophyll to start supporting its own growth.
  • In order to facilitate the quick synthesis of chlorophyll, plants make a precursor of chlorophyll called ‘protochlorophyllide’ in the dark, which glows red when blue light is shone on the plant.
  • As soon as the plant comes out into the light from under the soil, light­dependent enzymes convert protochlorophyllide to chlorophyll.
  • Using genetic, molecular and biochemical techniques, the duo found a mechanism where two proteins oppositely regulate the ‘BBX11’ gene to maintain optimum levels of ‘BBX11’.
  • “If there is an excess of free protochlorophyllide, then exposure to light converts it into molecules that cause ‘photobleaching’. Thus, it is very important to regulate the amount of protochlorophyllide synthesized by the plant and here comes the vital plant played by the ‘BBX11’ gene.

Source: TH


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