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Improving stress memory and salt tolerance in barley


The improvement of crop salt tolerance is a pressing agricultural challenge because salt stress poses a major threat to global food supply. The problem is topical in India where salinity-induced yield losses are increasing for several crops. Compelling evidence indicates that repeated stresses provide a memory to increase tolerance, but the mechanisms are not well understood. This project studies the role of jasmonates (JAs) in priming salt stress memory in barley, one of the most important cereals worldwide for food, malt and animal feed. The main objective is to determine how JAs prime plant salt stress tolerance to overcome the limits imposed on growth and yield. The study will enable the effective use of genetics and genomics to improve salt tolerance by 1) determining the correlation between transcriptome and translatome during growth (inhibition) associated with stress adaptation; 2) characterization of the dependency of the responses from epigenetic changes and the uncharacterized barley JAs receptor COI1, and from the ribosome inactivating protein JIP60. The research will characterize, (A) JAs-primed salt stress adaptation; (B) the mechanisms balancing stress adaptation and growth.
To achieve the aims, controlled JAs/salt stress will be applied to monitor organ growth. Growth and cell cycle analyses, alongside RNA-Seq, genome-wide analysis of mRNA translation during development and analysis of specific histone markers will be performed. This will demonstrate how poised gene expression and translation work together to set up stress memory. Plant response to salinity and its impact on yield and metabolism will also be analyzed. This multidisciplinary project will enhance the researcher career prospects when returning to India to establish their own lab continuing work in the same area. Overall, the success of this research will be applicable to other economically important crops worldwide with positive impact on the cultivation of crops during climate change.

Field of science

  • /agricultural sciences/agriculture, forestry, and fisheries/agriculture
  • /agricultural sciences/animal and dairy science/animal husbandry/animal feed

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF


Egham Hill University Of London
TW20 0EX Egham
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 224 933,76