BBX11: A gene that facilitates in the greening of plants
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Sci & tech
- 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.
- 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’.