Dr. Nese Sreenivasulu
Dr. Markus Kuhlmann
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Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik
und Kulturpflanzenforschung (IPK)
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Dr. Nese Sreenivasulu / Dr. Markus Kuhlmann
Drought is known to inhibit and delay flowering by affecting the establishment of spikelet meristem by reducing spikelet fertility during inflorescence development. These events are the major causes of yield loss. Until now we fail to understand the cross-talks between growth hormones influencing spikelet meristem identity under drought, which will be a major focus of this junior research group.
To understand these mechanisms integrative genomics approaches will be used to explore natural genetic variation in barley by studying introgression line populations with wild barley accessions as donors in an attempt to understand mechanisms of spikelet fertility influencing grain number. We would like to elucidate the molecular physiological mechanisms of how partitioning of assimilates takes place during the establishment of spikelet meristem. Having understood these mechanisms we would like to reveal the hormonal cross talks and identify key regulatory networks promoting the establishment and growth of spikelet primordium under drought which could be used as potential targets for genetic manipulation through GMO and Non-GMO approaches for the sustainable spikelet fertility and increase in grain number under challenging environmental conditions.
In our second approach we would like to test whether the manipulation of spikelet architecture (results in a simultaneous increase in seed number and assimilatory ear organs) would be an added advantage for post-anthesis drought tolerance to promote seed filling and increased yield. Hence, we would like to study the molecular physiological mechanisms of transgenic barley plants depicting branching phenotypes in spike architecture as well as to identify positive regulators influencing phenotype conversion from two rowed to six rowed phenotypes. Having understood these mechanisms we would like to assess whether increased photosynthetic capacity by the increased ear organs due to the change in spike architecture helps to better perform these transgenic and mutant barley plants for post-anthesis drought tolerance during the grain filling phase.
In our third approach, we will be making an attempt to establish correlation networks from the derived gene networks using throughput transcriptome, measured hormones, targeted metabolites from GMO material shown to confer drought tolerance. These correlations will be performed to understand the developmental stage specific physiology influencing spike development, fertilization and grain filling events under drought. All the data accumulated in this IZN-funded junior research group as well as from other ongoing projects (GABI-GRAIN, SEED-SET, PRO-DROUGHT) will be tailored to derive global relationships between hormone-transcript-metabolite-phenotype through statistical exploration using partial correlation approaches.
In the project of this junior research group a strong cooperation with the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Gatersleben is established.