Traffic control of cells

Cells in the human body can display remarkable differences in their behaviour depending on the mechanical properties of the tissue surrounding them. This is especially true for immune cells, which migrate through the body ...

Velcro for human cells

The ability of cells to adhere to each other and to their environment is the basis for multicellular life. Adhesion occurs via diverse receptors at the surface of cells that bind to specific ligands in their surroundings. ...

Light-induced changes in photosensory proteins

Researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have demonstrated on a molecular level how a specific protein allows light signals to be converted into cellular information. Their findings have broadened the understanding ...

The many structures of the light-active biomolecules

How the light-sensitive part of the biomolecule phytochrome changes from a light-adapted state to a dark-adapted state has been investigated by researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Philipps-Universität Marburg. So ...

How plants see light

Plants react sensitively to changes in their surroundings and possess the ability to adapt to them. They use the photoreceptor protein phytochrome B to see light and then regulate processes such as seed germination, seedling ...

How the signal from light triggers biological action in bacteria

Sunlight is the basis for all life on Earth so it should come as no surprise that many organisms have developed complex systems for detecting the quality and quantity of light in their environment. Plants, fungi, and many ...

New technology could help food crops thrive in crowded fields

(Phys.org) —With the global population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, the world's farmers are going to need to produce a lot more food—but without using much more farmland, as the vast majority of the world's arable ...

Scientists decipher structure of nature's 'light switch'

(PhysOrg.com) -- When the first warm rays of springtime sunshine trigger a burst of new plant growth, it's almost as if someone flicked a switch to turn on the greenery and unleash a floral profusion of color. Opening a window ...

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Phytochrome

Phytochrome is a photoreceptor, a pigment that plants use to detect light. It is sensitive to light in the red and far-red region of the visible spectrum. Many flowering plants use it to regulate the time of flowering based on the length of day and night (photoperiodism) and to set circadian rhythms. It also regulates other responses including the germination of seeds (photoblasty), elongation of seedlings, the size, shape and number of leaves, the synthesis of chlorophyll, and the straightening of the epicotyl or hypocotyl hook of dicot seedlings. It is found in the leaves of most plants.

Biochemically, phytochrome is a protein with a bilin chromophore.

Phytochrome has been found in most plants including all higher plants; very similar molecules have been found in several bacteria. A fragment of a bacterial phytochrome now has a solved three-dimensional protein structure.

Other plant photoreceptors include cryptochromes and phototropins, which are sensitive to light in the blue and ultra-violet regions of the spectrum.

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