April, 2009

Headline News Innovation and Development

Applied Technology

Basic Science Cooperation between CAS and Local Authorities
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DEP1- Key to Increase Rice Yield

On Mar. 22, Nature Genetics published online the latest progress made by Prof. Fu Xiangdong from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, CAS, and Prof. Qian Qian from China National Rice Research Institute in their research on the key functional genes for grain yield increase of China Super Rice. They reported the molecular characterization of a major rice grain yield QTL that acts through the determination of panicle architecture. The dominant allele at the DEP1 locus is a gain-of-function mutation causing truncation of a phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein-like domain protein. The effect of this allele is to enhance meristematic activity, resulting in a reduced length of the inflorescence internode, an increased number of grains per panicle and a consequent increase in grain yield. New rice varieties with higher grain yield are expected to be cultivated on the basis of their research findings.

New Perspective for Neuron Protein Research

Recently, Song Aihong, doctoral student, etc. co-supervised by Prof. Pu Muming and Prof. Duan Shumin from the Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences, CAS, observed an ankyrin G- and F-actin-dependent structure that emerged in the cytoplasm of the axon initial segment (AIS), imposing a selective filter for diffusion of macromolecules and transport of vesicular carriers into the axon. Axonal entry was allowed for KIF5-driven carriers of synaptic vesicle protein VAMP2. Comparisons of transport rates between chimeric forms of KIF17 and KIF5B, with the motor and cargo-binding domains switched, and between KIF5 loaded with VAMP2 versus GluR2 suggest that axonal entry of vesicular carriers depends on the transport efficacy of KIF-cargo complexes. This selective AIS filtering may contribute to preferential trafficking and segregation of cellular components in polarized neurons, and thus it has been attached theoretical significance. This research result was published online on Mar. 5 issue of Cell and relevant paper was carried by its Mar. 19 issue.

Semi-mangrove Forest: Importance to Eco-environment

Recently, a research team led by Prof. Wu Jun of the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, CAS, published a new review paper entitled ¡°Natural products from semi-mangrove flora: source, chemistry and bioactivities¡± (Nat. Prod. Rep., 2009, DOI: 10.1039/b816245j.) on Natural Product Report about the progress of their research on the semi-mangroves. The paper systemically summarized the structure types and bioactivities of the natural products from semi-mangrove in the world between 1955 and 2007. It is of scientific significance for future research on the extraction of natural products from such types of sea plants.

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