INVESTIGATORS: Amy Brunner (PI), Jason Holliday
INSTITUTIONS: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
PROJECT SUMMARY: Regulation of growth and dormancy by seasonal (daylength) and episodic (e.g., nutrient stress) environmental factors is of central importance to productivity in temperate tree species. Woody feedstock plants such as Populus show substantial natural variation in growth responses to various environmental conditions; however, the complex genetic nature of these traits slows breeding for optimal biomass production in specific climates and on marginal lands. These growth responses are controlled by complex networks of protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions that are poorly understood. Understanding the mechanisms that determine periods of growth and quiescence will identify specific control points that can be manipulated to maximize growth in different environments. The overall goal of this project is to uncover divergent and convergent regulatory networks that control growth responses to daylength and nutrient stress. To elucidate these regulatory networks, we will characterize genome-wide gene expression changes to these two abiotic signals and identify protein-protein and protein-DNA networks that are centered on FT2, a key integrator of multiple abiotic signaling pathways in Populus.
Name: Brunner, Amy