DATABASE: Gateways to the Plant Cell

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Science  14 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5575, pp. 1935
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5575.1935d

Plant cells slurp up iron, calcium, potassium, and other goodies through transporter proteins that span the cell membrane. Plants produce a profusion of these proteins. For example, the mustard Arabidopsis boasts more than 1100 transporter genes constituting nearly 10% of all its genes.

Researchers trolling for information on the sequences, functions, and phylogenetic relationships of these vital proteins should visit PlantsT, a year-old database of plant and yeast transporter genes run by the San Diego Supercomputer Center. PlantsT holds data on more than 60 plant species, many of them farm and garden staples such as rice, corn, peas, petunias, and spinach. Entries provide the protein's length, weight, sequence, and what's known about its activity, along with genetic maps and references. Users can also sort through the data by gene family or add their own contributions.

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