The role of carbon metabolism in drought stress tolerance
Plant Molecular Physiology and Biochemistry
Our lab is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of carbon partitioning (between starch and sugars) at different stages of water deficit.
In the case of mild water stress, the partial closure of stomata can be sufficient to sustain plant performance, thus making guard cells a putative target to engineer drought avoidance in plants with minimal alterations of yield. We employ a diverse array of molecular and biochemical approaches to investigate the contribution of starch and sucrose metabolism in the regulation of stomatal movement in Arabidopsis guard cells over the diurnal cycle and in response to water deficit.
In case of more severe stress, one of the most important mechanisms of drought resistance is the accumulation of soluble sugars to avoid water loss and to protect membranes, enzymes and other structures against damage and denaturation. To identify the precise metabolic origin of the increased sugar pool and the way the stress-induced reprogramming of carbon metabolism is regulated, we perform 14CO2 “pulse-chase” experiments in Arabidopsis wild type plants and a set of starch/sucrose-related mutants exposed to different levels of water stress.
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