Most seeds survive losing almost all their cellular water during development. This interesting ability, called desiccation tolerance, forms the basis for long term seed storage and it is critical for plant biodiversity conservation, agriculture and food security. During drying the seed cells are efficiently protected against irreversible damages by important compound such as Late Embryogenesis Abundant (LEA) proteins. Interestingly, most LEA genes are expressed during maturation but the proteins accumulate much later during drying. In this project we investigate how gene expression and protein translation are regulated during the acquisition of desiccation tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana seeds by combining ‘omics’ experiments (e.g. RNA-seq and Ribo-seq), data analysis and physiological, molecular and biochemical investigation of LEA protein function.
Collaborating paties: BASF-Nunhems, Bejo Zaden, Rijk-Zwaan.