Elucidating ‘the missing link’ in ethylene metabolism: discovery of ACC transporters in plants.

01 January 2017 → 31 December 2020
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
Ethylene Model flowering plant
Project description

The main goal of this research is to investigate ACC transport, a yet unexplored aspect of ethylene
metabolism. Ethylene is an important gaseous plant hormone for the regulation of many
physiological processes in plants, and is in our case especially important for the ripening of fruits
and vegetables. By regulating the levels of ethylene production in the different plant tissues and at
different developmental stages, fruit and vegetable ripening can be synchronized and wilting can
be blocked. The chemical agents nowadays used in the agricultural (and horticultural) sector to
regulate ethylene production are often toxic and are already banned in many countries. ACC is the
direct precursor of ethylene and is transported to the different plant tissues, where it is converted
into ethylene. The knowledge of the details of ACC transport can help us to create a more specific
and environmentally friendly approach to regulate ethylene levels in plants. We propose a
research in which three individual and parallel screens are set up to identify potential ACC
transporter proteins. The first method is a EMS mutagenesis screen using Arabidopsis thaliana.
The second method is a cDNA screen using Saccharomyces cerevisiae and a A. thaliana cDNA
library. The third and final method includes the screening of the LHT family of amino acid
transporters, of which LHT1 has already been identified as an ACC transporter. Once identified, a
biochemical and functional characterization will be performed.