Early signaling upon phosphate-depletion in plants (PiLESS)

01 September 2023 → 31 August 2028
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Cell signaling
    • Posttranslational modifications
    • Plant biochemistry
    • Plant cell and molecular biology
    • Plant genetics
root development signaling phosphate-depletion
Project description

Local water and nutrient availability require plants to adapt their
growth and development accordingly. One of the essential plant
nutrients is phosphorus (P). Its availability in soils as organic
phosphate (Pi) poses a major challenge for crops. Since P is a
limited mineral resource, development of crops that perform better
with reduced Pi-input is essential. Previous Pi-starvation studies
reveal that plants deploy local and systemic signaling to increase Piuptake and adjust plant growth. A long-term response to low Pi
involves modifying gene expression, however, how plants sense low
Pi and consequently generate early priming signals to activate this
gene expression is much less understood. Understanding the early
processes and signals are vital to improving the efficiency of Piuptake, distribution, and ultimately plant architecture. The PiLESS
project aims to characterize early Pi-depletion signaling by real-time
observations of physiological and molecular responses and
biochemical identification of early Pi-signaling components. These
novel components will be validated using a multiplexed
CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing approach. Moreover, we will develop a
Pi-sensor, applicable in Arabidopsis thaliana, tomato and other
crops, to monitor Pi-depletion responses in plants. These insights
into the early signaling processes will reveal how plants overcome
low Pi-conditions