Improving lateral root formation and propagation through cuttings in different tree species.

01 November 2020 → 04 March 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Plant cell and molecular biology
    • Plant genetics
    • Plant morphology, anatomy and physiology
Lateral roots Tree CRISPR/Cas9 Regeneration Chemical compound screen Propagation through cuttings Arabidopsis thaliana Poplar Morus alba macrofila Tilia cordata Morus nigra Y2H BiFC
Project description

For most tree species, the root holds mainly one big taproot without many lateral roots (LRs). To increase the LR density, farmers perform root pruning, being labor-intensive. Next to this, propagation through cuttings, which is used to propagate trees when genetically identical trees are desired, is a process with frequently very low efficiencies. Interestingly, tree farmers noticed that the problems of limited LR formation and poor propagation co-occur. The Arabidopsis ERF115 transcription factor is a key molecular component that controls the replenishment of stem cells following wounding, playing an essential role in regeneration. Recently, I demonstrated that both ERF115 and its closest homolog, ERF114, control LR formation, both under control growth condition and following root pruning, without the need to induce wounding. Therefore, they represent interesting factors to tackle the problems of poor LR formation and propagation efficiency in tree species. Within this project, I aim to provide proof of concept for the use of ERF114 as a tool to stimulate LR formation and propagation in poplar. Additionally, through a chemical compound screen I will identify chemical activators of ERF114 activity and test them on a set of tree species.