Researchers Identify Elusive Carbon Dioxide Sensor in Plants That Controls Water Loss
Published:27 Dec.2022    Source:University of California - San Diego
More than 50 years, ago researchers discovered that plants can sense carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations. As CO2 levels change, "breathing" pores in leaves called stomata open and close, thus controlling evaporation of water, photosynthesis and plant growth. Plants lose more than 90% of their water by evaporation through stomata. The regulation of stomatal pore openings by CO2 is crucial for determining how much water plants lose, and is critical due to increased carbon dioxide effects on climate and water resources in a warming world.
But identifying the carbon dioxide sensor and explaining how it operates within plants has remained a longstanding puzzle.
Using a mix of tools and research approaches, scientists at the University of California San Diego recently achieved a breakthrough in identifying the long-sought CO2 sensor in Arabidopsis plants and unraveled its functioning parts. UC San Diego project scientist Yohei Takahashi, School of Biological Sciences Distinguished Professor Julian Schroeder and their colleagues identified the CO2 sensor mechanism and detailed its genetic, biochemical, physiological and predicted structural properties. Their results are published December 7 in Science Advances.
Since the stomatal pores control plant water loss, the sensor is vital for water management and holds implications for climate-induced drought, wildfires and agricultural crop management.