Researchers from the Julius Maximilians University of W??rzburg (JMU)
have successfully applied optogenetics in tobacco plants to create a
â??switch' to control the plant's cell activities.
The researchers used genetic engineeringin producing vitamin A and
optimizing rhodopsin production simultaneously in tobacco plants by
introducing an enzyme from a marine bacterium. Vitamin A activates the
light-controlled cation channel, channelrhodopsin-2, which can only be
switched on or off by light. Vitamin A paired with rhodopsin allows the
researchers to manipulate the growth of pollen tubes and the development
of leaves using green light.
Optogenetics is a method first used to control the electrical activity
of cells in humans and animals. The study was the first time
optogenetics was successfully used in plants. The study also allows
further examination of a more detailed process of molecular mechanisms
of plant growth which could help analyze more signaling pathways of plants.
Optogenetic control of plant growth by a microbial rhodopsin | Nature