Jul 24, 2017 | Updated: 03:03 PM EDT

Researchers Decoded How Plants Tell Time Based On A Protein

May 18, 2017 01:00 PM EDT

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Researchers discovered that plants tell time due to a protein sending signals.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Researchers have finally discovered how plants tell time.

Clocks could tell time clearly while it isn’t known by the majority how plants tell time. Fortunately, a research team from Southern Methodist University have been studying for a long time already on how the greeneries tell time.

According to Gizmodo, the scientists from the Southern Methodist University worked alongside a team from the University of Washington, Ohio State, and Japan. The overall research team then studied everything about a protein called Zeitlupe or ZTL and another protein called FKF1 to figure out how plants tell time.

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ZTL was then described to change its shape after being exposed to blue light after an hour or two. The published result of the study in the journal eLife was said to be that the plant’s internal clock depends on how long the ZTL could hold its shape. The chemical bond in the protein Zeitlupe was then thoroughly studied in order to figure out how it breaks and forms.

Phys Org also reported that study lead author and chemist Brian D. Zoltowski, Southern Methodist University stated that “we can either make the plant's clock run faster or make it run slower. By altering these subtle chemical events we might be able to rationally redesign a plant's photochemistry to allow it to adapt to a new climate."

By studying the bond in ZTL protein, it was explained that these kind of proteins are the one responsible for initializing signals to other proteins based on the time of the day. Hence, a protein’s shape could notify other proteins of its behavior change and interact with them as well.

Nonetheless, the study about how plants tell time also aids in future studies regarding how the plant's global sensory networks work. How to alter proteins and the process of how signals are sent by plants to their environment was also mentioned to be achieved by the project.

Zoltowski then concluded that specific parts of a protein must then be paid full attention. The evolution of the protein’s specific modulations for their own was mentioned to be studied as well so that different amino acids in the different areas in the protein could be identified.


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