Improving Brassica and tomato stress tolerance.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: School of Life Sciences


MThe world is entering an era in which global food sufficiency can't be guaranteed without more efficient crop production. The fast-expanding human population, together with the global demand for natural resources are creating food insecurity. Therefore, it is of great importance to increase current crop yield in a sustainable manner. A sustainable strategy to enhance food production is to create agrochemicals enhancing plants tolerance to stress.
In work leading to this proposal using the 'model' plant Arabidopsis we identified the process called histone acetylation as a major regulator of both growth and stress responses. Histone acetylation is a conserved mechanism that controls which genes are turned on or off. Plants lacking one of the genes responsible for histone acetylation have bigger leaves and are more tolerant to drought and pathogens. This remarkable result shows that plant stress responses and growth do not have to be antagonistic.
This project will deepen our understanding of the mechanism used by this histone acetylation gene to simultaneously regulate resistance to disease and growth. Then, in order to show that findings in a model plant will translate into crops, we will move our findings into Brassica and tomato plants by developing agrochemical that inhibits the histone acetylation enzyme, ensuring that it will not interact adversely with off-target organisms. These agrochemicals will considerably advance our capabilities to increase current food production and maintain future food supply.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
2265814 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 Maria-Anna Mousouraki