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

11.11.2011

Ghent/Geneva - Ablynx rides the biotech rollercoaster. Only days after US-pharma company Pfizer pulled out of a rheumatoid arthritis pact, the Belgian bipharmaceutical outfit expanded its relationship with Merck Serono. Ablynx...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

10.11.2011

Alschwil - Actelion Ltd. gets a badly needed injection of fresh capital. Under the guidance of the two biggest Swiss banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, the Swiss biopharmaceutical company takes up €171 million agreeing to pay a 4,875%...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

18.10.2011

Basel/San Diego –Swiss drug company Roche has announced it is buying biotech-company Anadys Pharmaceuticals for US$230 million. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Roche will commence an all cash tender offer for all...

Germany, SwitzerlandSwitzerland

12.10.2011

The Swiss technology transfer organisation Unitectra is the winner of the European Biotechnica Award 2011. The specialist for technology transfer received the award from hands of Lower Saxony's Minister for Economy Jörg Bode. The...

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01.10.2011

Liestal – Swiss Santhera AG has announced strict savings measures. Out of a total of 21 employees, almost every second is now slated to be sacked. The biotech firm is closing its department of preclinical development and scaling...

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01.10.2011

Schlieren – Swiss biotechnology company Cytos AG has finally devised a plan to help its lead candidate into Phase II, but to achieve it, the cash-strapped company is having to slash its workforce by a whopping 85%. To ensure the...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

01.10.2011

Geneva – Swiss biotech Addex Pharmaceuticals AG has regained all rights to its metabotropic glutamate receptor 4 (mGluR4) positive allosteric modulator (PAM) programme from Merck&Co, (known as MSD outside the United States and...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

01.10.2011

Hamburg – When the compound EVT302 failed proof-of-concept testing in the spring of 2009, investors began backing away from Evotec AG shares. Now the selective MAO-B inhibitor is back, and has powered a leap in the company’s...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

15.09.2011

Zurich – The FDA has posted a manufacturing warning to Lonza following an inspection of the firm's microbial production site for Eisai’s cancer drug Ontak in Hopkinton. However, analysts at Vontobel said that the impact of the...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

30.08.2011

Schlieren - Swiss biotechnology company Cytos has devised a plan to get its lead candidate into Phase II. To achieve this, the cash strapped company will slash its workforce, as previously announced, by 85%. To ensure the...

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