Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg


Prof. Edgar Peiter

Telefon: +49 (0)345 55-22420

Institut für Agrar- und Ernährungswissenschaften
Betty-Heimann-Straße 3
06120 Halle (Saale)

Prof. Nicolaus von Wirén

Telefon: +49 (0)39482 5603

Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung (IPK)
Corrensstraße 3
06466 Gatersleben


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Teilprojekt 05

Defining the role of a low affinity cation transporter in salt and drought tolerance of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)

Edgar Peiter (MLU), Nicolaus von Wirén (IPK)

Cation transport processes across cellular membranes are a major element of plant abiotic stress tolerance. Tolerance to salt stress strongly depends on the plant’s ability to prevent entry of Na+ into the cell, as well as to exclude and/or compartmentalise the ion. In addition, all stresses evoke specific elevations of cytosolic free calcium ([Ca2+]cyt) through the activation of Ca2+ channels. These [Ca2+]cyt signals are crucial for the initiation of stress responses by activating Ca2+-dependent downstream elements. In this project, we will use the genetically tractable crop barley to establish a role of cation transporter candidate genes in abiotic stress tolerance and calcium signalling, with a focus on salt stress. Functional analysis of the transporters by yeast complementation and vesicle transport assays will determine their affinity and selectivity for different cations. Expression analysis and subcellular localization experiments will identify under which circumstances, in which tissues, and where in the cell the transporters operate. Overexpression and knockdown lines will be used to identify roles of the transporters in planta, in particular their contribution to uptake and distribution of Na+, K+, and Ca2+. The modulation of stress-related [Ca2+]cyt signals by the transporters will be studied on cellular and whole-plant level. Roles of selected transporters identified in this project can be exploited to improve the stress tolerance of cereal crops through conventional and transgenic breeding approaches.

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