Protective mechanisms in orthodox seeds guard the cells against abiotic damage preserving the cellular milieu during prolonged periods under stress. The LEA proteins play an important role allowing orthodox seed cells to avoid or reduce the damage caused by water loss during maturation drying and in preserving cellular constituents during anhydrobiosis. The complete complement of LEA proteins in Soybean (Glycine max) and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) has been cataloged and orthologous pairs identified. The dehydrin LEAs are one of nine different LEA families found in these, and other, species. The research proposed will be conducted using recombinant protein production and phage display affinity selection to unveil protein:protein interactions between dehydrin LEA proteins and their client proteins in soybean and Arabidopsis. Advanced molecular biology techniques (RT-PCR, Recombinant protein production, Phage Display, Paired-End PhageSeq) will be used to identify, for selected dehydrin LEA protein orthologs from each species, those client proteins with which the LEAs interact. The anticipated results from this project are expected to expand the current knowledge of LEA function in protecting cells from lethal desiccation damage. Such an understanding, when applied to Soybean seeds, may assist efforts to improve soybean longevity in storage, potentially providing seed technology protocols allowing intervention to improve seed quality produced in breeding programs. Knowledge of LEA protein client protein targets may also provide means of protecting client proteins in vegetative cells during periods of stress during flowering, pollination, and seed set/filling, providing a means to enhance stress resistance in the crop without incurring a yield penalty.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: