Improving health, food quality and food safety are major demands of Europe’s society and economy. Addressing these demands requires a deeper knowledge of the basic mechanisms that regulate plant and animal metabolism. Carotenoids are a group of plant pigments that animals need to ingest as an essential source of retinoids (including vitamin A). Dietary consumption of carotenoids is also associated with protection against a broad range of chronic human diseases.
Despite carotenoids are essential for plants and animals we still lack fundamental knowledge about how carotenoid biosynthesis is regulated. Particularly, our comprehension of how interactions at the protein level modulate carotenoid metabolism is still scarce. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruit ripening represents a well-characterized model to study carotenoid biosynthesis and assaying metabolic remodeling strategies endeavored to improve the health-promoting properties of crops. This proposal aims to discover and validate protein factors interacting with known regulatory components of the carotenoid pathway in tomato fruit, to provide an initial understanding of how their dynamic interactions orchestrate carotenogenesis during tomato fruit ripening. It is expected that the proposed study will lead to the generation of fundamental knowledge about carotenoid regulatory networks with a potential application in breeding programs.
Both the project and the host institution aim to unite the highest excellence in basic scientific research with applied technological innovation to meet the current demands of European society. The strong biotechnology background of the applicant together with the highly developed expertise in carotenoid research of the receiving group will synergistically contribute to the success of this proposal. In addition, the challenges associated with this project will serve to develop the candidate into an independent scientist with a rich network of international collaborations.
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