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Regulation of plant growth by the Target of rapamycin (TOR) pathway

Grant number: 12/19561-0
Support type:Program for Research on Bioenergy (BIOEN) - Young Investigators Grants
Duration: June 01, 2013 - December 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany
Principal Investigator:Camila Caldana
Grantee:Camila Caldana
Home Institution: Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CNPEM). Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações (Brasil). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated grant(s):16/50189-0 - Can we control how plants produce their biomass?, AP.R
Associated scholarship(s):15/04658-6 - Influence of TOR (Target of Rapamycin) pathway on starch metabolism in Arabidopsis thaliana, BP.IC
14/10407-3 - Cross-talk between the Target of Rapamycin (TOR) pathway and energetic metabolism in plants, BP.DR
14/07918-6 - Functional characterization of the Target of Rapamycin (TOR) gene using Setaria as the model plant: dissecting the role of TOR pathway regulating growth and metabolism in C4 plants, BP.PD

Abstract

Rising demand for food and fuels makes crucial to develop breeding strategies for increasing crop yield/biomass. Plant biomass production is closely linked to growth and depends on a tight regulation of a complex signaling network that integrates external and internal One of the key regulators of growth in all eukaryotes is the Target of Rapamycin kinase pathway (TOR). TOR integrates environmental cues such as energy status or nutrient availability into cell growth and proliferation. In the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana the levels of TOR expression are positively correlated with growth. However little is known about the mode of action of TOR controlling growth in photosynthetic organisms. Over the last years, the main goal of our group has been to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in growth and metabolism of plants modulated by TOR. Recently, experimental evidences revealed that the disruption of this essential protein leads to severe growth phenotypes, which are based on the essential reprogramming of the plant metabolism. The identification of plant TOR as a potent metabolic switch offers a novel route for biotechnological optimization of plant carbon partition for bioenergy production. However, there are still many gaps about how TOR controls those metabolic decisions and regulates growth, especially in C4 plant species used for biofuels production due to their capability to produce biomass at faster rates. Therefore, our aim is to use a systems-oriented approach to dissect TOR signaling network involved in plant growth and metabolism using both C3 and C4 model species (Arabidopsis and Setaria italica, respectively). Such approach is expected to reveal how plants adjust their metabolism ratios in order to simplify the conversion of plant biomass into biofuels. Moreover, the comparisons between these two photosynthetic systems will allow further comprehension of the growth regulatory network-mediated by TOR contributing to the efforts in bioengineering C4 features in C3 crops. From a technological standpoint, the proposal includes the establishment of a metabolomic oriented lab that will serve as facility unit for the community and also provide the centrepiece for human resources training. (AU)

Articles published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the research grant
TOR protein could be key to control of plant growth 

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
CALDANA, CAMILA; MARTINS, MARINA C. M.; MUBEEN, UMARAH; URREA-CASTELLANOS, REYNEL. The magic `hammer' of TOR: the multiple faces of a single pathway in the metabolic regulation of plant growth and development. Journal of Experimental Botany, v. 70, n. 8, SI, p. 2217-2225, APR 1 2019. Web of Science Citations: 2.
MONTE-BELLO, CAROLINA C.; ARAUJO, ELIAS F.; MARTINS, MARINA C. M.; MAFRA, VALERIA; DA SILVA, VIVIANE C. H.; CELENTE, VIVIANE; CALDANA, CAMILA. A Flexible Low Cost Hydroponic System for Assessing Plant Responses to Small Molecules in Sterile Conditions. JOVE-JOURNAL OF VISUALIZED EXPERIMENTS, n. 138 AUG 2018. Web of Science Citations: 0.
SEKI, MOTOHIDE; OHARA, TAKAYUKI; HEARN, TIMOTHY J.; FRANK, ALEXANDER; DA SILVA, VIVIANE C. H.; CALDANA, CAMILA; WEBB, ALEX A. R.; SATAKE, AKIKO. Adjustment of the Arabidopsis circadian oscillator by sugar signalling dictates the regulation of starch metabolism. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, v. 7, AUG 16 2017. Web of Science Citations: 13.

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