The resurrection plant Craterostigma plantagineum is being used as an experimental model system to dissect pathways leading to desiccation tolerance.
This plant responds to desiccation with complex metabolic changes resulting in the synthesis of many new proteins. During drying treatment novel gene products accumulate rapidly in leaves or other tissues. Several of these genes have been demonstrated to be regulated by abscisic acid (ABA).
In order to understand desiccation tolerance in higher plants a major goal is to isolate genes and determine parameters which regulate the expression of the response genes.
One approach has been the analysis of ABA and desiccation inducible promoters and the subsequent characterization of DNA binding proteins which confer ABA responsiveness to the structural genes.
A novel technique by which this can be achieved is using the yeast one-hybrid system which has recently been established and improved at MPI by the group of Dr.Thompson.