The Role of Copper and Transcriptional Regulatory Networks Governing Copper Homeostasis in Pollen Fertility in A. thaliana.

Date: 

2017

Summary: 

This project uses interdisciplinary approaches to provide the fundamental insights on the role of a micronutrient copper in pollen development and fertility in a model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. This project will also help to explain how a newly discovered protein CIT1 and another protein SPL7 coordinate copper uptake and delivery to the reproductive organs of Arabidopsis thaliana to orchestrate pollen development and fertility.

Issue: 

The global demand for high-yield grain crops is increasing due to the current trend of population growth and global climate change. In this regard, it has been known for decades that deficiency for the micronutrient copper compromises plant fertility, reduces grain yield and, in acute cases, causes total crop failure. However, copper delivery pathways to reproductive organs and transcriptional regulatory networks that coordinate copper homeostasis and plant reproduction are still poorly understood.
This project will provide the first fundamental study of the role of copper in pollen development. In addition, the proposed experimental plan will significantly advance understanding of the transcriptional regulatory networks governing Cu homeostasis, and the hierarchy of their interactions as relevant to plant growth, development and fertility. Finally, the proposed work will generate data facilitating the identification of regulatory and functional elements in the A. thaliana genome important for the delivery of Cu to developing anthers to ensure pollen fertility and for coping with fluctuations of Cu in the environment. Therefore, this project has a potential to provide novel candidates for molecular breeding efforts to aid in the development of crops better able to grow in soils now considered marginal and with higher yields on soils now in cultivation.

Response: 

This project is in the early stages of development.

Impact: 

Although controlling male fertility is an important goal for plant reproduction and selective breeding, the role of Cu in this process, Cu delivery pathways to pollen and transcriptional regulatory networks that mediate Cu homeostasis and plant fertility are unknown. This project uses an interdisciplinary approach and A. thaliana as a model to provide the first fundamental outlook on the role of Cu and the newly discovered SPL7-CCIT1 pathway in pollen fertility, establish components of the pathway and the hierarchy of their interactions as relevant to plant growth, development and fertility. This project will generate data facilitating the identification of regulatory and functional elements important for coping with fluctuations of Cu in the environment, and will provide valuable candidates for molecular breeding efforts for growing high-yield crops on marginal soils. Because we show that in addition to Cu, Fe is located in anthers, we believe that this project will provide a paradigm for studies of the role of mineral nutrients in plant fertility.

Submitted by: 

  • Vatamaniuk, Olena K

Researchers involved: 

  • Vatamaniuk, Olena K

International focus: 

  • United States of America