Scientists might just be getting closer to achieving their goal of hacking the aging process as they recently discovered a new challenger in this race. There’s a particular organelle in plant cells that has been known for over a century now. However, this is a gem that has been underlooked over the years as not a lot of research has been conducted to understand it.
Recently, a UCR research team decided to study these plant cells to determine which parts of the plant cells are responsible for controlling their responses to stress from factors like stress, too little light, or too much salt. To their surprise, they learned about this organelle and an understudied protein that is responsible for maintaining the organelle by controlling whether plants survive being left too often in the dark.
Katie Dehesh, distinguished professor of molecular biochemistry at UCR and co-author of the study published in Nature Plants Journal, said, “For us, this finding is a big deal. For the first time, we have defined the profound importance of an organelle in the cell that was not previously implicated in the process of aging.”
This organelle, the Golgi body, is composed of a series of cup-shaped membrane-covered sacs, and it is responsible for sorting the molecules in the cell to ensure they get to the right places. The protein called COG functions by controlling and coordinating the movement of small sac “envelopes” that transport other molecules around the cell.
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