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Press Release 05-201

Scientists Shed Light on Plant Responses

3-D structure of light-sensing protein controls processes from seed sprouting to leaf dropping

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Scientists revealed the 3-D shape of phytochrome when it complexes with a light-sensing pigment.

Plants use light for photosynthesis and to help govern other basic responses including seed germination. Scientists have determined the 3D structure of the protein phytochrome when it complexes with a light-sensing pigment.

Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation (Illustration); J.R. Wagner, University of Wisconsin-Madison; J.S. Brunzelle, Northwestern University; K.T. Forest and R.D. Vierstra, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Phytochrome Structure)


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3-D light switch controls plant processes.

3-D light switch controls plant processes such as seed germination, plant growth, flowering and, in autumn, leaf dropping.

Credit: P. Olmert, National Science Foundation


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