d," said Benfey. "We've shown that, while cytoplasmic localization is essential for movement, it's not sufficient. We're left with this conclusion that the mutated protein can't move because there's a disruption in some interaction that facilitates movement."
While the latest finding represents only the earliest hints of a mechanism by which the protein moves from cell to cell, it offers a promising pathway for further exploring that machinery, said Benfey.
"Next, we're systematically cutting up and changing the Short-Root protein, to identify those regions that are just required for movement," said Benfey. Thus, he said, the researchers hope ultimately to reveal the machinery by which the developing cells talk to one another in the critical process of generating a complex tissue from individual cells.
More broadly, said Benfey, there are parallels between plants and animals in such signaling. "While the process we are studying could be a highly specialized, unique process to plants, there are indications that similar processes could be occurring in developing animal cells. Such similarities could extend the significance of our work beyond plants," he said.
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Contact: Dennis Meredith
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