Unlocking the mechanisms that keep plant embryos healthy and growing despite the heat
Auxin is a plant growth hormone with several roles in plant growth and development including embryo axis formation, vascularisation and cell elongation. Embryonic auxin biosynthesis appears to be controlled on both spatial and temporal levels, suggesting the presence of regulatory networks. Since auxin acts as an integrator of environmental cues, this process also seems to be affected by elevated temperatures, resulting in impaired seed production. Given the trend of global warming and the increased difficulties of the agricultural sector in keeping up with growing food demand, the EU-funded ITRABAE project is studying the mechanisms of the spatiotemporal regulation of auxin genes during embryo development and the effect of heat stress. Better understanding could help flowering plants produce healthy seeds in the face of rising global temperatures.