SwitzerlandSwitzerland

EMBL study helps to understand drought resistance

18.11.2009

Much as adrenaline coursing through our veins drives our body’s reactions to stress, the plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) is behind plants’ responses to stressful situations such as drought, but how it does so has been a mystery for years. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble, France, and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) in Valencia, Spain discovered that the key lies in the structure of a protein called PYR1 and how it interacts with the hormone. Their study, published online in Nature, could open up new approaches to increasing
crops’ resistance to water shortage (more...). Under normal conditions, a family of proteins called Type 2C phosphatases inhibit the ABA pathway. When a plant is subjected to drought, the concentration of ABA in its cells increases, removing the brake and allowing the signal for drought response to be triggered. This in turn initiates mechanisms for increasing water uptake and storage, and decreasing water loss. While it is known that ABA does not interact directly with Type 2C phosphatases, recent studies had indicated that
another family of proteins mediate between these two. Scientists led by José Antonio Márquez from EMBL Grenoble, and Pedro Luis Rodriguez from CSIC, examined one member of this third family of proteins, called PYR1. X-ray crystallography shows that PYR1 has an open structure, like an outstretched hand, in the absence of ABA. When ABA is present it sits in the ‘palm’ of the PYR1 hand, which then closes over the hormone as if holding a ball. This enables a Type 2C phosphatase to sit on top of the folded fingers. As these features seem to be conserved across most members of this protein family, this
confirms PYR1 and others in this protein family as the main ABA receptors. It also demonstrates how the process of stress response starts: by binding to PYR1, ABA causes it to inhibit PP2C molecules, which are therefore not available to block the stress response.

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

21.02.2012

Basel/Berkeley – Europe enters into the age of personalised medicine. The European Commission has approved the melanoma drug Zelboraf. While the compound was developed by US-based Plexxikon Inc., owned by Daiichi Sankyo Group,...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

26.01.2012

Basel – The rumours started just before Christmas. Roche wants Illumina. Just how dearly, has just become clear. The Swiss drugmaker made a $5.7b hostile bid for Illumina, the current market leader in Next-Generation sequencing....

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

23.01.2012

Basel – Good and bad news for Swiss drugmaker Novartis. First a look on the bright side: Signifor, for the treatment of Cushing's disease, is on its final stretch to approval. The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

19.12.2011

Basel - It is a further push for Roche's ambitions in medicine concerning the treatment of skin cancer: The European Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended that the drug Zelboraf and its companion...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

17.12.2011

Allschwil – Europe’s largest stand-alone biotech company Actelion Ltd. is receiving an injection of fresh capital. Under the guidance of the two biggest Swiss banks – UBS and Credit Suisse – the Swiss company will be issued a...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

14.12.2011

Stans – Due to the current financial market conditions and the lack of significant progress with currently available options, Swiss drug developer Mondobiotech says it will be implementing restructuring measures. Together with...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

14.12.2011

Geneva – There's is life in Swiss biotechnology beyond big pharma. Genentech has launched a First-in-Human study with anti-IL-17, an antibody made by the Swiss biotechnology company NovImmune. The fully human monoclonal antibody,...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

22.11.2011

Basel – The FDA has withdrawn the accelerated approval for Roche's Avastin (bevacizumab) to treat metastasising breast cancer. The US regulatory authority had originally granted accelerated approval for Avastin's use in treating...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

16.11.2011

Basel/Hervel – It may be the end of Novartis' lucky streak in osteoporosis. While the once a year osteoporosis injection Aclasta (a bisphosphonate) sells well, the Swiss pharma company had to break disastrous news from a...

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