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TEMPEST — Result In Brief

Project ID: 243140
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: United Kingdom

Temperature perception in plants

Crops are highly sensitive to changes in ambient temperature, with monocot plants in particular being vulnerable to higher temperatures during the reproductive and grain-filling phases. Understanding the molecular basis of how plants perceive temperature is therefore important for mitigating the effects of climate change.
Temperature perception in plants
Plant growth and development can be significantly affected by changes in temperature, with crop yields declining by 10 % for every 1 degree centigrade rise in temperature. Current climate change has already altered global plant phenology and distribution, and projected increases in temperature will pose a significant challenge to agriculture in the future.

The EU-funded project TEMPEST (Temperature perception and signal transduction in plants) was established to explore the molecular mechanisms employed by plants to perceive temperature. Its aim was to discover how plants can adapt their responses to temperature because, despite the important role of temperature in plant development, the underlying pathways were unknown.

Researchers used a multidisciplinary approach based on the model organisms Arabidopsis thaliana and Brachypodium distachyon to understand the mechanisms behind temperature perception. This included a novel forward genetic screen for mutants that had an impaired ability to detect temperature correctly.

Results show an interesting connection between chromatin structure and temperature sensing, which is conserved within eukaryotes. The team also discovered molecules that vary in different Arabidopsis accessions, causing these lines to have altered thermoresponsiveness.

TEMPEST successfully identified molecules that are necessary to sense temperature and observed that their activity changes in response to temperature. These findings will help the work of crop breeding programmes and provide important knowledge for predicting future effects of climate change.

Related information


Temperature perception, plants, climate change, TEMPEST, chromatin, thermoresponsiveness
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