A six-year multinational study led by Israeli researchers has found a key mechanism that helps plants cope with water shortages, Israeli Tel Aviv University (TAU) said on Sunday, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
The finding was revealed in a study published in the journal Science Advances, conducted by researchers from TAU, in collaboration with their colleagues in Israel, Switzerland, Germany, the U.S. and Denmark.
The mechanism is responsible for closing the leaf pores to prevent water loss, and controls the development of lateral roots that help absorb water in the soil, TAU noted.
The team discovered that the mechanism is based on two unknown proteins that drive and regulate a plant hormone, or a signal molecule called ABA, which controls both essential processes.
This is a significantly sensitive and fast mechanism, through which the plant always maintains the right balance.
It opens or closes pores within seconds to minutes in response to any small change in water, temperature and light conditions, the researchers explained.
The researchers also found that a decrease in the activity of the two proteins in the leaves causes the free ABA to move down towards the root, encouraging it to absorb more water from the soil.