Plant response to high temperature
Our research is focused on understanding plant adaptation to environmental stresses such as high temperature. Research key words: high temperature stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress, auxin signaling, PILS proteins, plant growth and development.
Leader: Dr. Elena Feraru (Elise Richter Fellow)
The life of a plant is a permanent response to environmental stimuli. Plants monitor and constantly integrate the environmental fluctuations in order to adjust their growth and development. Plant hormones, primarily auxin, are central to these adaptive growth responses, mediating a plethora of developmental responses in a concentration-dependent manner. By investigating i) molecular players that regulate auxin signaling and ii) auxin-mediated morphological responses in Arabidopsis, we aim at understanding the plant adaptation to high temperature.
Our research led to the identification of a previously unknown mechanism that promotes root growth under high temperature. We showed that the root elongation is mediated by auxin and the PIN-LIKES (PILS) proteins, which have been identified as putative auxin carriers that mediate the intracellular auxin transport at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). As a follow up of this project, we performed a forward genetic screen for regulators of PILS-dependent root response to high temperature and, currently, we are analyzing the putative candidates.
The aim of the current Elise Richter project is to reveal the molecular mechanism that is regulating the development of the Arabidopsis fruit under high temperature. We are investigating the effect of high temperature on particular aspects of flower development and its consequences on fruit development and yield.