Scientists Discover Plants' Oil-Production Accelerator Also Activates the Brakes
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory
have discovered that the protein that turns on oil synthesis also activates
a protein that puts the brakes on the same process.
The scientists found that a protein known as BADC exerts its braking
mechanism by inserting itself into ACCase, a key enzyme involved in making
fatty acids. From another study, the team explored the signaling protein
WRINKLED1 (WRI1) which turns on the enzymes for fatty acid synthesis,
including parts of ACCase, and serves as the on switch for the oil-synthesis
The team did not find the connection between WRI1 (on switch) and BADC (off
switch) until the lead authors observed that plants with mutations in genes
for either protein had unusually short roots. Further investigation led them
to conclude that both proteins are linked to the root growth defect.