Elucidating the mode of action of the yield enhancing maize gene, ZmKLUH, and the development of novel strategies to improve maize yield

01 January 2017 → 31 December 2020
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
Maize Yield Growth
Project description

In this research project we will examine the workings of a protein, KLUH, involved in plant growth.
It has been shown that KLUH regulates plant growth and increased activity of the KLUH results in
larger maize plants with more seeds with an increased size.
The exact mechanism of KLUH, however, is not known. Therefore in our proposed project we will
unravel the functioning of KLUH. It is known that a different protein represses KLUH activity. We
will disrupt this repression by on one hand eliminating this protein and on the other hand
preventing its repression of KLUH. In addition, KLUH does not work alone: in the plants with
increased yields we have found certain genes which might be controlled by KLUH. We will examine
these genes to evaluate whether they have an impact on maize growth; we will do this both in the
lab and on the field. We will also examine how KLUH actually works, as it is not known which
reaction is performed by KLUH. Although, we have indications that KLUH might be involved in the
formation of chlorogenic acid. Finally we will evaluate the effect of chlorogenic acid on plant
growth by spraying it on maize plants.
This project will clarify the functioning of KLUH, which is very interesting as an increased
knowledge can lead to higher maize yields in future maize varieties. Furthermore, the gained
knowledge about chlorogenic acid might be used to market chlorogenic acid, or a derivative as a
growth promoting substance.