Joint research between PSC and the Kyushu Institute of Technology has revealed more than 7,000 small genes in unknown genomic regions in the model plant “Arabidopsis thaliana”. Most of these small genes were likely to encode peptide proteins – chains of amino acids connected in a certain order. Researchers also elucidated that some of these genes play significant roles in various aspects of plant growth and development.
The group’s research findings indicate that there may be many yet-unidentified genes in plant genomes associated with morphogenesis (growth and development).
Another achievement of this research is the establishment of a method for identifying high numbers of small genes, and the identification of peptides in plants associated with resistance to environmental stress could greatly contribute to agriculture through improved crop productivity. Similarly in animals, small genes can play significant roles. Consequently, the method to identify small genes is expected to have wide application in various fields, including medical biology.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America(PNAS), doi:10.1073/pnas.1213958110.
Kousuke Hanada, Mieko Higuchi, Masanori Okamoto, Takeshi Yoshizumi, Minami Shimizu, Kentaro Nakaminami, Ranko Nishi, Chihiro Ohashi, Kei Iida, Maho Tanaka, Yoko Horii, Mika Kawashima, Keiko Matsui, Tetsuro Toyoda, Kazuo Shinozaki, Motoaki Seki, and Minami Matsui
"Small open reading frames associated with morphogenesis are hidden in plant genomes"
Dr.Kousuke Hanada (Visiting Scientist)
RIKEN Plant Science Center