Innovations in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences

Discovery of Amino Acid unveils How Light makes Stomata Open in Plants

Why in the news?

Scientists from Nagoya University have made a discovery about the regulation of Stomatal opening in plants, a process vital for efficient photosynthesis by a type of amino acid threonine (Thr881).

What are Stomatal Openings?

  • Stomata are microscopic pores on plant leaves crucial for gas exchange.
  • They particularly uptake carbon dioxide necessary for photosynthesis.

How does Light make Stomata Open?

  • Research unveiled a novel regulatory mechanism involving the phosphorylation of the 881st threonine residue (Thr881) of the plasma membrane proton pump in response to red and blue light.
  • Phosphorylation, a process involving the addition or removal of a phosphate group from amino acids, acts as a regulatory switch, influencing protein structure and function.
  • The researchers focused on the phosphorylation of Thr881 and its role in stomatal opening.
  • They observed phosphorylation in response to both red and blue light conditions, highlighting the interplay between photosynthesis and light signaling.

Significance of Thr881 Phosphorylation

  • Mutant studies confirmed the critical role of Thr881 phosphorylation in stomatal opening.
  • Plants expressing a mutant proton pump lacking Thr881 phosphorylation exhibited reduced stomatal aperture and transpiration rates, emphasizing the regulatory significance of this amino acid residue.
  • The study identified Thr881, along with Thr948, as crucial phosphorylation sites for the activation of the enzyme H+-ATPase, essential for stomatal opening.
  • Manipulating Thr881 could offer avenues for promoting plant growth, enhancing carbon dioxide absorption, and reducing fertilizer usage.


2014: Which one of the following is the process involved in photosynthesis?

a)    Potential energy is released to form free energy

b)    Free energy is converted into potential energy and stored

c)    Food is oxidized to release carbon dioxide and water

d)    Oxygen is taken, and carbon dioxide and water vapour are given out


Practice MCQ:

What is the significance of phosphorylation of the threonine residue (Thr881) in the context of plants?

a)    It helps in reducing carbon dioxide uptake and photosynthesis efficiency.

b)    It enhances photosynthesis in dark conditions.

c)    It reduces transpiration leading to enhanced water conservation.

d)    It is essential for regulating stomatal aperture and facilitating gas exchange in plants.

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