Mining the extraordinary regeneration potential of Marchantia polymorpha to increase regeneration of crop species

01 November 2022 → 31 October 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Plant biochemistry
    • Plant cell and molecular biology
    • Plant developmental and reproductive biology
    • Plant genetics
Stem cell biology Cell division Regeneration
Project description

The plant lineage displays an unrivalled regeneration capacity that not only restores damaged tissue but can also give rise to whole plant bodies. Unfortunately, many economically and ecologically important species display a poor regeneration potential. E.g., many elite tree species are recalcitrant to routine propagation by stem cuttings. In agricultural species, the capacity to regenerate is even worse, as most cereals, including important food crops such as rice and maize, tend to be recalcitrant to plant regeneration. Within this project, we aim to exploit the remarkably regeneration potential of the bryophyte Marchantia polymorpha to address these problems. Recently, I contributed to the identification of the MpERF15 transcription factor as a conserved key factor controlling plant regeneration. MpERF15 has a profound effect on the plant’s metabolome, including the production of oxylipins that through a positive feedback loop drive proliferation and regeneration. However, the genes and metabolites operating downstream of the oxylipins remain unknown. To this end, I will perform comparative transcriptomic and metabolomic experiments between wild -type with regeneration-deficient Marchantia thalli. Selected candidate genes and metabolites will be systematically screened for their potential to increase the rooting potential of the poplar hybrid Populus tremula x alba, as well as their potency to increase the transformation efficiency of the maize B104 inbred line.