Boron, a chemical element present in the soil, is an essential plant nutrient. Although boron deficiency dramatically reduces crop yield, its exact role in plant development remains unknown.
Paula McSteen, University of Missouri, Columbia, USA, and colleagues have analyzed a mutant corn species and discovered the protein TLS1 (tassel-less1), which transports the boron captured from the soil into crop plants. By delivering boron in the form of boric acid, TLS1 sustains the growth of the meristem, a tissue from which every organ of the plant develops. In the absence of boron the meristem disintegrates, thus preventing corn from growing. Boron is, therefore, essential for corn plant development.
By showing how corn plants utilize boron, this study will allow the development of strategies to increase crop yields in boron deficient soils.
- Transport of Boron by the tassel-less1 Aquaporin Is Critical for Vegetative and Reproductive Development in Maize,
Amanda R. Durbak, Kimberly A. Phillips, Sharon Pike, Malcolm A. O’Neill, Jonathan Mares, Andrea Gallavotti, Simon T. Malcomber, Walter Gassmann, Paula McSteen,
Plant Cell 2014.