Discovery of a quality control pathway for plant mitochondria

December 23, 2020

Mitophagy supports plant tolerance to ultraviolet-B damage

A research group of RIKEN CSRS, Tohoku University, National Institutes of Natural Sciences, and others discovered that an intracellular self-degradation system called “autophagy” contributes to the quality control of plant mitochondria.

Plants are constantly exposed to ultraviolet-B (UVB) damage under sunlight. Although the importance of autophagy for plant tolerance to UVB damage was found, roles of autophagy in plant UVB response has not been fully understood.

The joint research group analyzed in detail the role of autophagy in the UVB damage response using a model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Results from a series of intracellular imaging analyses including that with a novel-type, two-photon microscope system showed that mitochondrial degradation by autophagy (mitophagy) reduces damaged mitochondria caused by UVB damage in leaves.

The finding of this study might contribute to designing of stress-resistant plants for the purpose of planting in a harsh natural or extraterrestrial environment.

Original article
Plant and Cell Physiology doi:10.1093/pcp/pcaa162
S. Nakamura, S. Hagihara, K. Otomo, H. Ishida, J. Hidema, T. Nemoto, M. Izumi,
"Autophagy contributes to quality control of leaf mitochondria".
Masanori Izumi; Senior Scientist
Shinya Hagihara; Team Leader
Sakuya Nakamura; Visiting Researcher
Molecular Bioregulation Research Team