Science & Tech

The discovery of amino acids reveals how light opens stomata in plants

  • Scientists at Nagoya University have discovered how a type of amino acid threonine (Thr881) regulates stomatal opening in plants, a step required for optimal photosynthesis.

What are stomatal openings?

  • Stomata are small pores on plant leaves that allow for gas exchange.
  • They specifically absorb the carbon dioxide required for photosynthesis. 

How does light cause stomata to open?

  • In reaction to red and blue light, researchers discovered a unique regulatory mechanism that involves the phosphorylation of the plasma membrane proton pump’s 881st threonine residue (Thr881).
  • Phosphorylation, the process of adding or removing a phosphate group from amino acids, serves as a regulatory switch that influences protein structure and function.
  • The study concentrated on the phosphorylation of Thr881 and its significance in stomatal opening.
  • They discovered phosphorylation in response to both red and blue light, emphasising the link between photosynthesis and light signalling.

The Significance of Thr881 Phosphorylation

  • Mutant experiments established the importance of Thr881 phosphorylation in stomatal opening.
  • Plants producing a mutant proton pump lacking Thr881 phosphorylation had lower stomatal aperture and transpiration rates, highlighting the regulatory importance of this amino acid residue.
  • The study identified Thr881 and Thr948 as critical phosphorylation sites for the activation of the enzyme H+-ATPase, which is required for stomatal opening.
  • Manipulating Thr881 may provide opportunities for improving plant growth, increasing carbon dioxide absorption, and lowering fertiliser use. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

And get notified everytime we publish a new blog post.