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Genomic Science Program

2010 Awardee

Systems View of Root Hair Response to Abiotic Stress

INVESTIGATORS: Stacey, G.; Cheng, J.; Xu, D.; Koppenaal, D.; Paša-Tolić, L.

INSTITUTIONS: University of Missouri, Columbia; Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: The predicted effects of climate change are complex but include effects on air and surface temperature, with coincident effects on water availability.  These abiotic stresses profoundly affect plant growth, including impacts on root growth and function (e.g., nutrient uptake). Root hair cells function to increase root surface area and to mediate water and nutrient uptake. Modern systems biology approaches require the integration of large datasets with the ultimate goal of developing predictive models of cellular function. Current approaches are hindered due to tissue dilution effects in which the response of a whole organism or tissue is measured, diluting the contributions of individual cells. What is needed is a system to analyze responses at a systems level on a single cell type. We developed the soybean root hair cell system as a model for systems biology. The work proposed will utilize this model system to explore, at a single cell level, the response of plant roots to heat and drought stress, which are relevant to concerns about changing climate.

OBJECTIVES: Our vision is to utilize the soybean root hair system to explore, at a systems level, the biology of a single, differentiated plant cell type, while gaining novel insight into the impacts of temperature and water availability on a crucial root cell necessary for nutrient uptake. The proposed research will define the transcriptional, metabolomic and proteomic response of the soybean root hair cell to variations in temperature and water availability. Computational tools will be used to analyze the data and develop models to examine regulatory networks that control the response to environmental change. The data obtained should provide a better understanding of the impacts of climate change (heat and water limitation) on plant root physiology.

APPROACH: The research will make use of the combined expertise of the Co-PIs, which include plant molecular biology, bioinformatics, and mass spectrometry. The research will make good use of the instrumentation and expertise available at EMSL on the PNNL campus. Objectives 1 and 2 will focus on the use of high throughput sequencing approaches to define the transcriptional response of root hairs to abiotic stress, as well as the use of mass spectrometry methods to examine the proteomic and metabolomic response. Objective 3 will use bioinformatic methods to analyze the data obtained and to develop cellular models defining the response to heat and drought stress.

Name: Stacey, G.
Phone: 573-884-4752
Fax: 573-884-7696



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