Latest Chloroplast Stories

2011-06-17 13:07:30

Although scientists have been able to sequence the genomes of many organisms, they still lack a context for associating the proteins encoded in genes with specific biological processes. To better understand the genetics underlying plant physiology and ecology"”especially in regard to photosynthesis"”a team of researchers including Carnegie's Arthur Grossman identified a list of proteins encoded in the genomes of plants and green algae, but not in the genomes of organisms that...

2011-05-19 08:12:04

Salk scientists grow understanding of how photosynthesis is regulated The seeds sprouting in your spring garden may still be struggling to reach the sun. If so, they are consuming a finite energy pack contained within each seed. Once those resources are depleted, the plant cell nucleus must be ready to switch on a "green" photosynthetic program. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies recently showed a new way that those signals are relayed. In a study published in the May...

2011-02-08 11:00:00

Rhizanthella gardneri is a cute, quirky and critically endangered orchid that lives all its life underground.  It even blooms underground, making it virtually unique amongst plants.  Last year, using radioactive tracers, scientists at The University of Western Australia showed that the orchid gets all its nutrients by parasitizing fungi associated with the roots of broom bush, a woody shrub of the WA outback.  Now, with less than 50 individuals left in the wild, scientists...

2010-07-01 12:00:16

A team of researchers from Duke University and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has found a central part in the machinery that turns plants green when they sense light. In the Rube Goldberg world of cellular mechanics, this key player turns out to be a garbage truck. Light is so essential for plants that they have two different systems to take advantage of it, explains Meng Chen, an assistant professor of biology at Duke. There's the familiar system of organelles called chloroplasts...

2010-06-25 08:11:42

For a plant, light is life. It drives everything from photosynthesis to growth and reproduction. Yet the chain of molecular events that enables light signals to control gene activity and ultimately a plant's architecture had remained in the dark. Now a team of researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Duke University have identified the courier that gives the signal to revamp the plant's gene expression pattern after photoreceptors have been activated by light. "Light is...

2010-04-27 18:58:45

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but it would no longer be a rose. If a grass is booted out of the grass family, where does it go? Leah Morris and Dr. Melvin Duvall from Northern Illinois University recently investigated the evolution of grasses, one of the most economic and ecologically important plant families, by sequencing the chloroplast DNA of an early diverging grass genus, Anomochloa, and comparing it to the chloroplasts of other grasses. Their results are published in the...

2010-04-13 15:05:21

In an electrifying first, Stanford scientists have plugged in to algae cells and harnessed a tiny electric current. They found it at the very source of energy production "“ photosynthesis, a plant's method of converting sunlight to chemical energy. It may be a first step toward generating "high efficiency" bioelectricity that doesn't give off carbon dioxide as a byproduct, the researchers say. "We believe we are the first to extract electrons out of living plant cells," said WonHyoung...

2010-03-30 08:47:22

Max Planck scientists develop gene switch for chloroplasts in plant cells In plant cells, the cell nucleus and the mitochondria are not the only places where genes are read and translated into proteins. The organelles of photosynthesis - the chloroplasts - also have their own DNA, messenger RNA and ribosomes for forming proteins. Max Planck scientists have now discovered how to regulate the formation of proteins in the chloroplasts. They can use so-called riboswitches to switch the genes in...

2010-01-27 10:49:10

As so-called primary producers, plants use solar energy to synthesize the foodstuffs that sustain other forms of life. This process of photosynthesis works in much the same way as the solar panels that supply energy for domestic heating. Like these, plant leaves must cope with variations in the level and quality of ambient light. LMU researcher Professor Dario Leister and his colleagues at LMU Munich have been studying how this is accomplished in the thale cress, Arabidopsis thaliana. "It...

2010-01-26 15:18:12

Contrary to prevailing wisdom, a new study from plant biologists at UC Davis shows that proteins of the Hsp70 family do indeed chaperone proteins across the membranes of chloroplasts, just as they do for other cellular structures. The findings are published online in the January issue of the journal The Plant Cell. One of the most crucial tasks in a living cell is to move things across membranes, both in and out of the cell and between different compartments inside. Chloroplasts are...

Word of the Day
  • Like a worm in form or movement; vermiform; tortuous or sinuous; also, writhing or wriggling.
  • Like the track or trace of a worm; appearing as if worm-eaten; vermiculate.
  • Marked with fine, close-set, wavy or tortuous lines of color; vermiculated.
  • A form of rusticated masonry which is so wrought as to appear thickly indented with worm-tracks.
This word ultimately comes from the Latin 'vermis,' worm.