BBX11: A gene that facilitates in the greening of plants

  • IASbaba
  • December 28, 2020
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BBX11: A gene that facilitates in the greening of plants

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Sci & tech

In news 

  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) have identified a gene that facilitates in the greening of plants. 
  • This gene plays a crucial role in regulating the levels of protochlorophyllide which is an intermediate in the biosynthesis of the green pigment chlorophyll.

Key takeaways 

  • IISER scientists have identified the gene ‘BBX11′. 
  • The study was recently published in the British journal New Phytologist.
  • The synthesis of chlorophyll in plants is a lengthy, multi-step process. 
  • When a seedling emerges from under the soil it must quickly synthesise chlorophyll to start supporting its own growth.
  • In order to facilitate quick synthesis of chlorophyll, plants make a precursor of chlorophyll called ‘protochlorophyllide’ in the dark, which glows red when blue light is shone on the plant.
  • As soon as the plant comes out into the light from under the soil, light-dependent enzymes convert protochlorophyllide to chlorophyll.
  • The amount of protochlorophyllide synthesised needs to be proportional to the number of enzymes available to convert them to chlorophyll.
  • If there is excess of free protochlorophyllide, then exposure to light converts it into molecules that cause ‘photobleaching’.

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