Skip to main content

Control of source-sink relations by carbohydrate regulation of gene expression

Objective



Increasing plant yield potential is still a realistic goal of plant breeding. Plant growth and productivity is determined not only by the photosynthetic activity of the plant, but by the way in which the products of photosynthesis are allocated and utilised during plant growth and development. It has recently been discovered that internal signals arising from primary carbon metabolism directly influence photoassimilate production and utilization through the control of gene expression in source and sink tissues. Such controls therefore regulate carbohydrate allocation and utilization in important sink organs such as tubers, roots, fruits and seeds, and so directly determine plant productivity. The aim of this research is to investigate sensing and signal transduction pathways and their components which mediate carbohydrate regulation of gene expression in source and sink organs, and so control carbohydrate production, utilization and plant yield potential. In so doing we shall subsequently be able to manipulate these sensing and signalling pathways with the aim of beneficially modifying plant productivity.
We shall carry out a genetic, molecular and physiological analysis of these signalling systems in the model species Arabidopsis, in order to understand how they work and to provide molecular tools to manipulate them. We have identified several target proteins which are believed to function in carbohydrate sensing and signalling, which shall be the focus of research in Work Area 1. These proteins include sugar transporters, protein kinases and hexokinases. The second work area will involve the analysis of mutants altered in their response to sugar signalling. Three participants have isolated such mutants and we believe that collectively we have ALL the sugar-responsive Arabidopsis mutants isolated in European laboratories. These provide us with an extremely powerful resource. Further mutants will be isolated using different approaches so that we can ultimately isolate more genes encoding components of the sensing and signalling system for subsequent manipulation. The third Work Area will concentrate on biochemical and physiological approaches to analysing plants created in Work Areas 1 and 2, and to examining the signal transduction systems in-vitro. Finally, in Work Area 4, those genes which we expect to be capable of directly modifying source-sink relations, initially from Work Area 1 but subsequently from Work Area 2, will be introduced into commercially important crop plants (potato and sugar beet) to evaluate their effects on source-sink relations, plant growth, yield potential and harvest index. This programme will bring together laboratories with complementing skills, knowledge and resources to address a research area which is beginning to have a very great impact upon our understanding of plant growth, through new research being carried out particularly in the USA, Japan and Europe. We believe that the pan-European coordinated project we propose provides the opportunity to make significant progress and establish a lead in this area, providing resources for direct application to agricultural crops and other areas of plant biotechnology.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

AMICA SCIENCE EEIG
Address
Norwich Research Park John Innes Centre, Colney
NR4 7UH Norwich
United Kingdom

Participants (13)

ADVANTA SEEDS BV
Netherlands
Address
70,Dijkwelssetraat 70
4421 AJ Kapelle
Advanced Technologies Ltd.
United Kingdom
Address
Knowle Green
TW18 1DY Staines
BBSRC Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research
United Kingdom
Address
Aberystwyth Research Centre Plas Gogerddan
SY23 3EB Aberystwyth
Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique
France
Address
Ctr. D'etude De Cadarache
13108 Saint-paul-lez-durance
Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen
Germany
Address
1,Auf Der Morgenstelle 1
72076 Tübingen
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
France
Address

33883 Villenave-d'ornon
JOHN INNES CENTRE
United Kingdom
Address
Norwich Research Park
NR4 7UH Norwich
Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Germany
Address
Im Neuenheimer Feld 360
69120 Heidelberg
UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
United Kingdom
Address
King's Building, Darwing Building, Mayfield Road
EH9 3Jr Edinburgh
UTRECHT UNIVERSITY
Netherlands
Address
8,Padualaan 8
3584 CH Utrecht
University of Glasgow
United Kingdom
Address
University Avenue
G12 8QQ Glasgow
Università degli Studi di Pisa
Italy
Address
Via Mariscoglio 34
56124 Pisa
Université de Paris-Sud XI
France
Address
12,Avenue Georges Clémenceau 12
91405 Orsay