Gene found for chloroplast movement | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


News

Gene found for chloroplast movement

By
12:10pm, March 28, 2001

Inside each plant cell, light-gathering chloroplasts dance out of a cell's shaded edges to soak up the sun or back into that shade when the light is too intense. Now a team of scientists from five Japanese research centers has found the gene that choreographs this movement, the researchers report in March 16 Science.

Chloroplasts are the powerhouses of each plant cell. They capture light energy from the sun and use it to convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and food. The tiny spherical or disk-shaped chloroplasts contain the pigment chlorophyll, which gives green plants their color.

When light is weak, like on a cloudy day, the chloroplasts spread across the upper faces of the cells on a leaf, giving it a deeper green color. In intense sunlight, chloroplasts retreat to the cells' edges, making leaves look pale. Both reactions depend on the amount of blue light reaching the cells.

By noting this response in the leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content