27 April: Bijun Tang (MPhil), 'Seeing Plant Hormone in Action'
Gibberellin(GA), a key plant hormone, is first identified in the pathogenic fungus Gibberella fujikuroi which causes disease in rice. GA is crucial in several developmental processes, such as seed germination, root and shoot elongation, flowering and fruit patterning. GA manipulation is thus an important milestone in agriculture which has resulted in ‘green evolution’ and has led to a massive increase in global wheat and rice yields.
Concentration of GA can be regulated by integrated environmental stimuli and endogenous signals, which allow direct responses to suit different environmental conditions, however, the spatiotemporal distribution of GA in vivo remains ambiguous. Therefore, the spotlight is now on the distribution patterns and finely-tuned concentration gradients of GA.
An optogenetic biosensor, GPS1, has been developed and is used to study the correlation of GA4accumulation and hypocotyl and root elongation. My proposed PhD project aims to re-engineer GPS1 to have next-generation GA4biosensors which are reversible and to have the first-generation GA12biosensors.
We anticipate that the discoveries stemming from these sensors will provide the detailed understanding necessary to make strategic interventions into GA dynamic patterning in crop plants for specific improvements in growth, development, and environmental responses