Research Group: Exploring P-type Pumps and Novel Crops
Vi studerer strukturen, funktionen og reguleringen af primær aktiv transport på tværs af membraner. Vores primære fokus er P-type ATPase pumper, der danner en stor superfamilie hos alle former for liv.
P-type ATPaser pumpe kationer (som essentielle metaller, calcium og protoner) og phospholipider på tværs af membraner. Velkarakteriserede medlemmer af denne familie er afgørende for mange grundlæggende funktioner i celler, og vi tilstræber at tildele fysiologiske funktioner til andre, mindre karakteriserede pumper. Alle medlemmer af denne familie danner en phosphoryleret reaktionscyklusmellemprodukt, derfra navnet P-type, og deres udvikling rejser spørgsmål, som vi forsøger at besvare. Pumpemekanismen hos disse biologiske nanomaskiner og hvordan pumpning reguleres, undersøges også.
Intermediate wheatgrass: A future grain crop
Annual grain crops currently provide approximately 70 percent of human calorie requirements, and occupy 70 percent of cropland worldwide. Annual crops must be sown every year, which disturbs the soil and exposes it to erosion through tillage or clearing of vegetation with herbicides. In addition, young seedlings with shallow root systems are inefficient at taking up water and nutrients, which is a major cause of ground and surface water pollution by nitrate leaching. A perennial grain crop that does not need to be sown every year would develop a deep and long-lived root system that sequesters carbon and takes up nutrients and water more efficiently. Such a crop would be tolerant to a wide array of stresses. We aim to accelerate domestication of the perennial grass wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium), a close relative of annual wheat. As T. intermedium lacks key domestication traits, the genes responsible for several traits must be modified before T. intermedium grains can be produced at large scale. These genes include those that control grain size and number, plant height, free threshing and rachis development. To accelerate the domestication process, from thousands of years (as it took for wheat) to hopefully less than a decade, we are inducing mutations in genes related to key domestication genes in wheat, barley and rice.
Improving barley by promoting P-type ATPase activity
P-type ATPases are membrane pumps that are of crucial importance for life in all kingdoms. In plants, they regulate nutrient uptake, signal transduction, reproduction and growth through pumping ions and lipids across biological membranes. P-type ATPase activity and thus also plant growth are controlled by multiple external factors. We aim to identify and characterize P-type ATPases in barley (especially members of the P1B and P3 ATPase subfamilies) and design and examine plants carrying gain-of-function mutations in these pumps. Our LESSISMORE project partner—Carlsberg Research Laboratory—has established a high-throughput technique to screen for specific genetic variation in libraries of hundreds of thousands barley plants. We have designed and generated gain-of-function mutants expressing constitutively active P-type ATPase pumps. We are investigating how such modifications influence yield and stress tolerance.
Understanding the extreme hardiness of the super crop quinoa
We aim to decipher the molecular mechanisms of water stress tolerance in plants and generate a knowledge base and methods platforms for future breeding of drought-tolerant crops. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), a pseudocereal crop that is tolerant to multiple water-related stresses, will be the focus of this project. This plant can grow on marginal soils under extreme salt and water stress and the seed has exceptional nutritional qualities. Although quinoa has yet to reach its potential as a fully domesticated crop, breeding efforts to improve the plant have been limited. Molecular and genetic techniques combined with traditional breeding are likely to change this picture. We have analyzed protein-coding sequences in the quinoa genome that are orthologous to domestication genes in established crops. Altering by targeted mutagenesis only a limited number of such genes that control e.g. grain size and nutritional quality may be a promising route for accelerating the improvement of quinoa and generating a nutritious high-yielding crop that can meet the future demand for food production in a changing climate.
Why do plants lack sodium pumps and would they benefit from having one?
In this project, we explore the feasibility of creating a new generation of salt-tolerant plants that express animal-type Na+/K+-ATPasesthat extrude Na+ and import K+. Attempts to generate salt-tolerant plants have so far focused on increasing the expression of salt stress-related genes or introducing these genes from other plants, bryophytes or yeast. Even though these approaches have resulted in plants with increased salt tolerance, plant growth is decreased under salt stress and often also under normal growth conditions. New strategies to increase salt tolerance are therefore needed. Theoretically, plants transformed with an animal-type Na+/K+-ATPase should extrude Na+ efficiently and have an improved Na+/K+-ratio. This may lead to a high degree of tolerance when salt is high and less side-effects when it is low.
Cuiwei Wang email@example.com
- Richard Villagrana
- Anett Stéger
- Simon Skovbæk Hansen
Nyheder fra Transportbiologi
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