Auxins are an important group of phytohormones, that regulate various aspects of embryonic and postembryonic development. Transduction of the auxin stimulus depends on selective protein degradation: it involves the activity of the TIR1 family receptors, that act in the SCF complex to target the family of Aux/IAA transcription factors for degradation. Although the core module of auxin signalling has been established, the mechanisms that modulate the signal flow are still only partially understood. A genetic screen performed in the host laboratory identified the advoluta (adv) mutant, which exhibits increased apical dominance and hyponastic leaves, suggesting an impaired auxin response. Moreover, preliminary analysis points to a complex genetic interaction between adv and the auxin response mutant axr1. Together this implies that ADV could be a novel component in auxin signalling. The objectives of this study are the characterisation of adv in the context of its putative involvement in the auxin signalling cascade, cloning of the adv mutation and the functional molecular analysis of the gene product. A wide set of modern techniques ranging from genetics and molecular biology to plant physiology and biochemistry will be employed in the project, including various specialised methods to asses auxin response. This study will likely allow us to define ADV as a novel element in auxin response, placing it in the signalling cascade and building a hypothesis regarding the gene’s molecular function. The proposed research training will enable the applicant to get acquainted with plant developmental biology and expand her knowledge in the field of phytohormone physiology and signalling. Apart from the research training, the applicant will acquire complementary skills (organisational and communication skills, project management). In conclusion, the proposed training will strongly advance and benefit the researcher’s career.
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