New Horizons in Plant Biotechnology: The early flooding signal ethylene acclimates plants to survive low-oxygen stress
Seminar given by Sjon Hartman (School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, UK)
“Floods have a devastating impact on agricultural crop productivity because most terrestrial plants are highly sensitive to prolonged flooding-induced low-oxygen (hypoxia) stress. We discovered that the plant hormone ethylene naturally accumulates in submerged plants cells and strongly helps to survive subsequent periods of tissue hypoxia. We identified the underlying mechanism and I will explain in detail how ethylene interacts with the plant’s oxygen-sensing machinery to promote hypoxia tolerance in Arabidopsis. In addition, using a transcriptomic and proteomic approach we found that ethylene also increases plant antioxidant levels, promotes oxidative stress tolerance and limits root growth to ensure hypoxic cell survival. Moreover, I will give an overview of the stress-protecting role of ethylene among several important crop species. Finally, I’ll briefly discuss my future research goals in which I aim to uncover how flooding signals regulate the epigenome and in turn facilitate stress memory and long-term plant survival”.