Trehalose signalling for crop improvement

Lead Research Organisation: Rothamsted Research
Department Name: Unlisted

Abstract

Trehalose 6-phosphate (T6P) is a signalling molecule with strong effects on metabolism, growth and development. We have recently discovered the mechanistic basis for this effect. T6P, the precursor of trehalose, is a strong inhibitor of SnRK1 (Snf1-related protein kinase) in growing tissues (Zhang et al. 2009). Using Arabidopsis seedlings as a model system we have shown that T6P up regulates genes involved in the biosynthesis of end-products and processes involved in growth (anabolism) and down regulates genes associated with catabolism. It is proposed that the trehalose pathway has been recruited in plants to regulate the conserved and constitutive SnRK1 in response to carbon supply regulating feast/ famine responses. Particularly strongly affected by T6P are genes encoding enzymes involved in the use of UDPG. Evidence suggests that being made from UDPG and G6P, T6P signals the supply and availability of these core metabolites and activates downstream biosynthetic processes that use them. This gives the opportunity through modification of T6P synthesis/ breakdown to promote biosynthetic processes in specific tissues to modify growth and yield of crops. Goals are to gain further basic understanding in Arabidopsis to make it possible to elevate T6P in crops sinks to promote biosynthetic processes and to alter T6P content in leaves of crops to enhance stress tolerance and photosynthesis. This will enable in the longer term to link work to the strategic aim of the centres by transferring fundamental knowledge of the mechanism in Arabidopsis to improve crop growth and biomass, stress tolerance and yield through selection and genetic modification.

Publications

10 25 50

 
Description Genetic modification of the trehalose pathway in crops is producing large and unpredented increases in crop yields. Current research is seeking to establish if this is a generic mechanism of yield improvement in crops. The research will have a large impact in the area of food security in at least one of the three major global crops. This will be worth billions of dollars and provide more secure food supplies worldwide.
Exploitation Route Increasing crop yields With Syngenta Biotechnology
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment

URL http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/news-views/targeted-increase-naturally-occurring-sugar-improves-yield-drought-affected-corn
 
Description the research findings have been used to increase crop yields of drought-affected maize in collaborative work with Syngenta. http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/news-views/targeted-increase-naturally-occurring-sugar-improves-yield-drought-affected-corn
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Environment
Impact Types Societal

 
Description Direct funding from industrial partner, Syngenta Biotechnology, USA
Amount £562,791 (GBP)
Funding ID S5264 
Organisation Syngenta International AG 
Sector Public
Country Global
Start 12/2012 
End 11/2014
 
Description Sugar signalling in the integration of growth and drought stress signalling
Amount £1,000 (GBP)
Organisation European Plant Phenotyping Network (EPPN) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Germany
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2013
 
Description University of Lisbon studentship grant
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Lisbon 
Sector Academic/University
Country Portugal
Start 10/2008 
End 09/2014
 
Description China 
Organisation Northeast Forestry University
Department Key Laboratory of Plant Ecology
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am a Guest Professor and give lectures, particularly to students. Joint projects are discussed and planned.
Collaborator Contribution PhD students have carried out research in China to a jointly discussed plan resulting in joint publications.
Impact -Lin Y, Yang L, Paul M, Zu Y, Tang Z (2013) Ethylene promotes germination of Arabidopsis seed under salinity by decreasing reactive oxygen species: evidence for the involvement of nitric oxide simulated by sodium nitroprusside. Plant Physiology Biochemistry 73, 211-218 -Lin Y, Chen D, Paul M, Zu Y, Tang Z (2013) Loss-of-function mutation of EIN2 in Arabidopsis exaggerates oxidative stress induced by salinity. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum DOI 10.1007/s11738-012-1172-y -Lei Yang, Xiaoju Zhao, Matthew Paul, Hong Zhu, Yuangang Zu, Zhonghua Tang (2014) Exogenous Trehalose Largely Alleviates Ionic Unbalance, ROS Burst and PCD Occurrence Induced by High Salinity in Arabidopsis Seedlings. Frontiers in Plant Science doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00570
Start Year 2011
 
Description EPPN 
Organisation Julich Research Centre
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Screening of sugar signalling mutants for altered cold and starvation responses
Collaborator Contribution Provision of growth and screening facilities
Impact Nunes C, Schluepmann H, Delatte TL, Wingler A, Silva AB, Fevereiro PS, Jansen M, Fiorani F, Wiese-Klinkenberg A, Paul MJ (2013) Regulation of growth by the trehalose pathway: relationship to temperature and sucrose. Plant Signaling and Behavior 8, 12 e26626
Start Year 2013
 
Description syngenta 
Organisation Syngenta International AG
Department Syngenta Crop Protection
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution characterisation of biochemical and molecular phenotype of higher yielding transgenic maize
Collaborator Contribution provision of plant material and funding
Impact Nuccio ML J Wu, R Mowers, H Zhou, M Meghji, LF Primavesi, MJ Paul, X Chen, Y Gao, E Haque, S Basu, LM Lagrimini (2015) Expression of trehalose 6-phosphate phosphatase in maize ears improves yield in well-watered and drought conditions. Nature Biotechnology 33, 862-869
Start Year 2012
 
Description syngenta 
Organisation Syngenta International AG
Department Syngenta Crop Protection
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution characterisation of biochemical and molecular phenotype of higher yielding transgenic maize
Collaborator Contribution provision of plant material and funding
Impact Nuccio ML J Wu, R Mowers, H Zhou, M Meghji, LF Primavesi, MJ Paul, X Chen, Y Gao, E Haque, S Basu, LM Lagrimini (2015) Expression of trehalose 6-phosphate phosphatase in maize ears improves yield in well-watered and drought conditions. Nature Biotechnology 33, 862-869
Start Year 2012
 
Description Conference talk, Sainsbury lab 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Induced Plant Development, Sainsbury Lab
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Hedwic 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact attend workshop regarding abiotic stress tolerance in wheat
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description IRRI 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact present lecture to IRRI, Philippines
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Press release following peer-reveiwed publication 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact International research interests including requests to work with me.
Interview with New Scientist
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/food-security/2013/130626-pr-trehalose-sugar-for-all-seasons.aspx
 
Description Xiamen metabolism conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact presented lecture at confernce
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description press release following publication 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact press release following high impact publication
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/news-views/targeted-increase-naturally-occurring-sugar-improves-yield-dr...
 
Description school visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact School children were very enthused about science as a vocation.

School children showed interest in science as career
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008