Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) in Japan have recently discovered a hormone in plants that retains water whenever none is available from the soil. Researchers were able to uncover how the peptide CLE25 moves from the roots and into the leaves when water is unavailable, causing the leaf spores to close. Understand, in humans peptide hormones will keep our bodies in check when the environment changes. For instance, when our blood pressure is low, we produce the hormone vasopressin, which travels through the bloodstream to narrow arteries thus restoring our blood pressure. I’m told, scientists hope to find out whether plant hormones can similarly respond to physical stress or dehydration in this case. Through the application of many CLE peptides, it was determined that only CLE25 lead to increased ABA in the leaves and thus more pore closure, as well as having a larger presence in the roots of plants as they are subjected to dehydration stress. With this in mind, the team needed to determine if the CLE25 moved through the plant’s circulatory system. Using a high sensitive mass spectrometry system, the team was able to tag and track the molecules from root to leaf. Finally, the team examined several mutants and discovered that BAM1/BAM3 receptors in the leaf were the link between CLE25 and ABA production. It is worth noting that in the study of mutant plants lacking CLE25 or ABA, after only three hours of dehydration, the plants showed seven times less leaf ABA and had lost more water than the control set. Obviously, more work will need to be done, but I have to imagine with gene editing technology, researchers will one day be able to develop abiotic stress-resistant crops as well as add functional peptides into fertilizer as well. Great upside potential. (Source: sciencedaily)

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