Mitochondria-to-nucleus communication in plant stress responses: looking for the missing elements

01 April 2015 → 31 August 2019
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund, Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Cell signaling
    • Intracellular compartments and transport
    • Plant cell and molecular biology
plant stress plants
Project description

Plants are usually regarded as “green factories” that produce biomass and oxygen during the
process of photosynthesis. However, just like humans and animals, plants do breathe. Increasing evidence is pointing towards a crucial role for this process and the cellular organelles (mitochondria) where it occurs in stress responses. Mitochondria were once free-living bacteria that were taken by cells and even after millions of years of evolution still preserve their semiautonomous status and genetic material. These unique features underlie the extensive communication between mitochondria and the rest of the plant cell. The way this information flows and the exact molecular mechanisms are largely unknown. Using a set of previously identified small molecules that specifically activate mitochondrial signaling pathways, the proposed project will investigate the role of mitochondria and expand our understanding how plants perceive and respond to adverse environmental conditions. How exactly these small molecules exert their action and which cellular components are targeted by them is a key step towards identifying novel pathways linking mitochondrial function and whole cellular activities.