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Identification of genes that regulate plant tolerance to adverse abiotic stress factors and determine plant ageing

English title Identification of genes that regulate plant tolerance to adverse abiotic stress factors and determine plant ageing
Applicant Hörtensteiner Stefan
Number 143003
Funding scheme Bulgarian-Swiss Research Programme (BSRP)
Research institution Institut für Pflanzen- und Mikrobiologie Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Botany
Start/End 01.11.2012 - 30.04.2016
Approved amount 317'659.00
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Keywords (5)

desiccation tolerance; drought stress; senescence; oxidative stress; chlorophyll breakdown

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Abiotic stresses such as drought and extreme temperatures can often cause oxidative stress, which in turn leads to accelerated senescence and shortens plant life span. Both stress tolerance and ageing are genetically controlled processes regulated by reactive oxygen species. The aim of this project is to identify elements of the genetic network that regulate the two intricately connected processes.
Lay summary
Abiotic stresses such as drought and extreme temperatures can often cause oxidative stress, which in turn leads to accelerated senescence and shortens plant life span. Both stress tolerance and ageing are genetically controlled processes regulated by reactive oxygen species. The aim of this project is to identify elements of the genetic network that regulate the two intricately connected processes by two alternative approaches: 1) Exploring the molecular mechanisms of stress tolerance in the desiccation- and freezing-tolerant species Haberlea rhodopensis and 2) analyzing Arabidopsis thaliana mutants with enhanced tolerance to oxidative stress and delayed senescence. H. rhodopensis is not only tolerant to abiotic stresses but also shows retarded senescence upon challenge with adverse environmental factors, compared with other species. Comprehensive transcriptome and metabolome analyses with Haberlea and other stress-sensitive species will be carried out to identify genes and biochemical pathways likely responsible for Haberlea’s remarkable stress tolerance and longevity. These genes will be subsequently analyzed by transgenic and pharmacological approaches to verify their function in stress tolerance and/or regulation of lifespan. In addition, several of our own A. thaliana mutants with enhanced tolerance to oxidative stress and altered senescence will be analyzed to identify the mutated genes and the affected pathways responsible for stress tolerance and delayed senescence.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 20.11.2012

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Molecular Mechanisms Preventing Senescence in Response to Prolonged Darkness in a Desiccation-Tolerant Plant
Durgud Meriem, Gupta Saurabh, Ivanov Ivan, Omidbakhshfard M. Amin, Benina Maria, Alseekh Saleh, Staykov Nikola, Hauenstein Mareike, Dijkwel Paul P., Hörtensteiner Stefan, Toneva Valentina, Brotman Yariv, Fernie Alisdair R., Mueller-Roeber Bernd, Gechev Tsanko S. (2018), Molecular Mechanisms Preventing Senescence in Response to Prolonged Darkness in a Desiccation-Tolerant Plant, in Plant Physiology, 177(3), 1319-1338.
ROS-mediated abiotic stress-induced programmed cell death in plants
Petrov V, Hille J, Mueller-Roeber B, Gechev T (2015), ROS-mediated abiotic stress-induced programmed cell death in plants, in Frontiers in Plant Science, 6, 69.
Natural products from resurrection plants: potential for medical applications.
Gechev Tsanko S, Hille Jacques, Woerdenbag Herman J, Benina Maria, Mehterov Nikolay, Toneva Valentina, Fernie Alisdair R, Mueller-Roeber Bernd (2014), Natural products from resurrection plants: potential for medical applications., in Biotechnology advances, 32(6), 1091-101.
Water deficit induces chlorophyll degradation via the 'PAO/phyllobilin' pathway in leaves of homoio- (Craterostigma pumilum) and poikilochlorophyllous (Xerophyta viscosa) resurrection plants.
Christ Bastien, Egert Aurélie, Süssenbacher Iris, Kräutler Bernhard, Bartels Dorothea, Peters Shaun, Hörtensteiner Stefan (2014), Water deficit induces chlorophyll degradation via the 'PAO/phyllobilin' pathway in leaves of homoio- (Craterostigma pumilum) and poikilochlorophyllous (Xerophyta viscosa) resurrection plants., in Plant, cell & environment, 37(11), 2521-31.
A simple and powerful approach for isolation of Arabidopsis mutants with increased tolerance to H2O2-induced cell death.
Gechev T, Mehterov N, Denev I, Hille J (2013), A simple and powerful approach for isolation of Arabidopsis mutants with increased tolerance to H2O2-induced cell death., in Methods in Enzymology, 527, 203-220.
Comparative metabolomics of Haberlea rhodopensis, Thellungiella halophyla, and Arabidopsis thaliana exposed to low temperature and subsequent recovery
Benina M, Obata TS, Mehterov N, Ivanov I, Petrov V, Toneva V, Fernie AR, Gechev T, Comparative metabolomics of Haberlea rhodopensis, Thellungiella halophyla, and Arabidopsis thaliana exposed to low temperature and subsequent recovery, in Frontiers in Plant Science.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Bayer Bioscience, Gent Belgium (Europe)
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
University of Innsbruck Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Institute Mol. Biol. and Biotechnol., Plovdiv Bulgaria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Golm Germany (Europe)
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
157884 Supercritical fluid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry as a new analytical tool for plant sciences 01.06.2015 R'EQUIP

Abstract

Abiotic stresses such as drought and extreme temperatures are the most prominent threat to agriculture worldwide, leading to crop losses or/and plant cell death. Furthermore, adverse environmental conditions can often cause accelerated senescence and shorten plant life span. Both stress tolerance and ageing are genetically controlled processes and there are indications that in plants, like in animals, reactive oxygen species are involved in this genetic control. The aim of this project is to identify elements of the genetic network that regulate the two intricately connected processes. Three alternative approaches will be used to discover genes involved in the regulation of abiotic stress tolerance and plant ageing: 1) Exploring the molecular mechanisms of stress tolerance in Haberlea rhodopensis. This is a unique resurrection plant and glacial relic with remarkable ability to survive desiccation (less than 5% relative water content) when dried for more than two weeks and resume its normal growth within hours after re-watering. In addition to drought, H. rhodopensis can also tolerate very low temperatures (chilling and freezing stress). 2) Comparative transcriptome and metabolome analysis between the stress resistant H. rhodopensis, stress tolerant Thelungiella halophila, and stress sensitive Arabidopsis thaliana. 3) Analysis of mutants with increased tolerance to abiotic stress factors and modulated senescence. To perform these approaches, the desiccation- and freezing-tolerant H. rhodopensis will be exposed to mild drought stress, followed by severe desiccation and subsequent rehydration, as well as to chilling and freezing temperatures followed by return to optimal growth temperatures. Transcriptome and metabolome analysis under these conditions will be performed using next generation sequencing (NGS) combined with advanced bioinformatics and gas/liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, respectively. In parallel, the same experiments will be performed with T. halophila and the closely related A. thaliana. With this approach, novel genes highly regulated under these conditions will be identified and their possible significance be evaluated by the comparative analysis between the three species with different levels of stress tolerance. In parallel, the changes in the metabolite abundances of the three species under drought and low temperature stress will complement the gene expression studies and outline metabolites that may contribute to stress tolerance.As an alternative approach, a number of A. thaliana mutants with enhanced abiotic/oxidative stress tolerance and delayed senescence, generated in our groups, will be investigated in more detail in order to get insights on the molecular mechanisms that determine abiotic/oxidative stress tolerance and regulate plant ageing. The analysis will include but not be limited to positional cloning of the genes responsible for the stress tolerant phenotypes/delayed ageing, comparative transcriptome and metabolome analysis of the mutants and wild type plants exposed to stress conditions. Additionally, H. rhodopensis genes and their homologues in A. thaliana identified previously as potential major players in abiotic stress tolerance will be functionally evaluated in A. thaliana by generating transgenic overexpressing and knockout/RNAi plants with altered levels of the respected gene products.This study is expected to uncover intricate molecular mechanisms that determine drought/low temperature stress tolerance and plant lifespan. Identifying new genes involved in the regulation of plant abiotic stress tolerance and unraveling the genetic mechanisms of plant ageing is not only of fundamental importance but also of practical significance for generating crops with improved qualities and increased productivity. Thus, a broader impact is expected on the agricultural sector of the economy.The project will engage three young researchers/PhD students (two in Bulgaria, one in Switzerland). Collaboration with other research groups and institutes is envisaged (in particular, with the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Golm, Germany, and Bayer Biosciences, Gent, Belgium).
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