Plant Vacuole Biogenesis Unravelled
Ground-breaking Discoveries in Plant Vacuole Biogenesis Research by CUHK Researchers Providing New Insights into Crop Improvement and Pharmaceutical Protein Production
A researcher team at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) led by Professor Jiang Liwen, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Life Sciences, has recently made a major breakthrough in revealing the molecular mechanisms of vacuole formation in plants. Taking advantage of cutting-edge 3D electron tomography at nanometre resolution, the team comprised of scientists from Hong Kong, Japan and the US discovered that vacuoles are mainly derived from the fusion and maturation of multivesicular bodies, which involve multiple regulated consequent fusions. The results have been published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Plants and highlighted on its website.
Professor Jiang said, ‘This is some of our best work in 18 years funded by the Areas of Excellence Scheme and Collaborative Research Fund. This work has redefined the concept of vacuole nature and vacuole formation in plants in textbook which will certainly have a significant impact on applied plant biology. Vacuoles are essential for regulating plant growth and development, as well as responses to stresses. In plant bioreactor, vacuoles in seeds are ideal compartments for storing and producing pharmaceutical proteins for treating human diseases. The research finding has provided new insights into producing pharmaceutical proteins.’
This revolutionary finding throws light on ways to improve crop quality to overcome environmental stress and pathogen infection, and the manipulation of vacuoles in plant bioreactor for pharmaceutical proteins. In addition, this study has also established a high standard for using 3D ET for precise organelle reconstruction in the future study of organelle biogenesis.
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