The worldwide demand for ethanol and sugar is increasing and has driven the expansion of this sugarcane. However, sugarcane productivity often is reduced due to drought and the development of new cultivars adapted to water stress is highly relevant. We have identified a sugarcane gene, ScPSaK, that is induced by drought in plants grown in the field. This gene encodes the subunit K of the photosystem I. The objective of this study is to test the hypothesis that the gene ScPSaK plays an important role in drought tolerance. To test this hypothesis we propose to overexpress the gene ScPSaK in Brachypodium distachyon plants. Physiological and biochemical assays in transgenic plants under water stress will be performed to test our hypothesis. With this approach we aim to increase our knowledge on the genetic basis of drought tolerance in sugarcane and increase the range of putative biotechnological targets.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: