Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Polyamines and drought tolerance

Barley in the field

Barley in the field

Stadium of germlings

Stadium of germlings

Stadium of leaves

Stadium of leaves

Stadium of flowering

Stadium of flowering

Stress

Stress

Drought is a major limitation for crop yield, and drought-tolerant crop cultivars are a worldwide requirement. Polyamines were shown to improve tolerance and recovery from drought, and recent results place spermine at a prime position for this effect. The mechanism of action of spermine is unknown, but there is strong evidence pointing to spermine modulation of cation channels.

This project aims at investigating spermine formation and action in the crop Hordeum vulgare, distinguishing spermine from the positional isomer thermospermine. The enzyme responsible for spermine biosynthesis, H. vulgare spermine synthase (HvSPMS), will be characterized and its expression in response to drought will be analysed. To clarify mechanism(s) of spermine action, effects of genetic and pharmacological alteration of spermine levels on various drought and salt stress parameters will be determined in whole plant, cell culture and epidermal strip assays. The hypothesis that spermine is intricately linked to ion homeostasis and Ca2+ signalling will be tested by recombinant reporter proteins and ion flux analysis. A first approach to identify direct spermine targets is made by studying proteins to which spermine specifically binds.

Project of IZN: Interdisciplinary Centre of Crop Research

Co-operations:

  • Institute of Agricultural- and Nutritional Sciences Halle, Prof. Dr. Edgar Peiter
  • Institute of Agricultural- and Nutritional Sciences Halle, Prof. Dr. Klaus Humbeck
  • Interdisciplinary Centre of Crop Research Halle, Dr. Carsten Milkowski
  • Institute of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Prof. Dr. Jörg Degenhardt

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