Study sheds light on how plants "put the brakes" on growth

June 23, 2014

A team of researchers led by the Quail Lab at UC Berkeley has zeroed in on the important process of “attenuation,” the way cells guard against potentially harmful overreactions to the external cues that enable them to adapt to prevailing conditions.

"In the biosciences, defects in signaling attenuation mechanisms are under increasing scrutiny in both medical and agricultural areas," said Peter Quail, professor in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley and research director at the Plant Gene Expression Center in Albany, CA.

"Cellular signaling attenuation is essential for cells to survive in a fluctuating environment, and when broken, can, for example, cause cancer."

The finding, published in the June 6, 2014 edition of Science, similarly has important consequences in agricultural research, as understanding all aspects of plant signaling is important to improving crop growth for food, feed and biofuel production.

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