Coordinator: Adriana S. Hemerly
IDENTIFICATION OF REGULATORY NETWORKS THAT CONTROL PLANT GROWTH
The strategy used by plants during their post-germination growth– where the plant body is constructed in a modular and indeterminate manner, through the function of the meristems – results in a development mode that is regulated during the plant life cycle by internal (e.g. mechanisms of cell division control) and external signals in response to the environment (e.g. association with beneficial microorganisms that promote plant growth). Because plant growth consists mainly of cell division events, followed by cell elongation and differentiation, a promising strategy for increasing the yield of economically interesting crops is the increase of biomass through the manipulation of regulatory networks that control the plant growth. Two distinct approaches have been taken by our research group to unravel the mechanisms that control plant growth: (a) the study of a regulatory network in grasses that controls the basic machinery of DNA replication, and therefore the cell division. Specifically, this part of the project involves the functional study of a new regulator of the G1/S transition in plants, ABAP1, focusing in unraveling the regulatory network which ABAP1 take part, and the processes of plant development in which ABAP1 acts; (b) the characterization of plant growth in grasses promoted by the association with beneficial endophytic bacteria that fix nitrogen and produce phytohormones, such as Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus and Herbaspirillum spp. This part of the project involves the isolation, characterization and functional study of sugarcane and rice genes that are involved in the interaction with endophytic diazotrophic bacteria and promotion of plant growth.