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Young plant's natural defenses amount to more than just its seed

into little bits.

"AFP is like a soldier that sits and waits until the right time, then - boom - eliminates ABI5," says Lopez-Molina, adding, "this makes sense because you have to get rid of ABI5 somehow so the plant will grow when favorable conditions appear."

Filling out the picture even more, the researchers showed how AFP might target ABI5 for ubiquitination. It turns out that AFP and ABI5 travel to the same spots in a cell's nucleus - spots that contain a known enzyme, called COP1, thought to promote the chopping up of proteins.

"AFP takes ABI5 by the hand and brings it to protein-destruction factories located in the cell's nucleus. From this moment on, the plant can resume growth," says Mongrand.

Futhermore, the discovery that AFP is expressed in tandem with ABI5 in response to stress during a short time window only is further evidence for the existence of a second developmental checkpoint. Indeed, it would seem that a newly sprouted plant unexpectedly faced with a drought can thank ABA, ABI5 and AFP for its survival.


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Contact: Whitney Clavin
clavinw@rockefeller.edu
212-327-7250
Rockefeller University
31-Jan-2003


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