Molecular and cellular mechanisms of plant growth and development under temperature stress
Faculty of Agriculture
Associate Professor Rahman Abidur
【Plant Molecular Physiology】
<Developing crops resistant to temperature stress>
In the present world there is a huge imbalance between population growth and food production. By 2050, world population will increase by 34% to 9.1 billion, whereas potential cultivable land area will increase only 5% (FAO; www. fao.org). In addition, crops susceptibility to various abiotic stresses, such as temperature stress, make it a difficult task to maintaining the crop production. For instance, low temperature stress caused financial damage totaling 158 billion yen in fiscal year 2009 (Rahman, 2012). Global warming also causes serious damage to the crop productivity. The combined annual loss rendered by high temperature is $5 billion (Lobell and Field, 2007). Because of the current climatic changes, temperature stress will have a huge impact in future crop production. Our research aims to produce new breeds of crops that can tolerate temperature stress by understanding the molecular mechanism of temperature stress regulation pathway in plant.
<Stabilize food security by increasing crop production>
Any stress response results from a complex interaction of genes that eventually controls the expression of the number of proteins. Understanding this basic mechanism is crucial for improving the specific response to stress, and temperature stress is no exception. Our recent research results using Arabidopsis as a model plant revealed that the temperature stress response is closely linked to the intracellular protein trafficking. This protein trafficking plays an essential role in cell viability and plant development. We also identified a gene family, guanine exchange factor (GEF) as a master regulator of temperature response. GEFs are the upstream regulators of several small GTPases and ARF family proteins that are essential for vesicular transport. This protein family is highly conserved in all living species ranging from humans to plants. Currently, we are trying to elucidate the role of this gene family in regulating the temperature stress in crop species. The next step will be to manipulate the expression of this gene family in crop species in order to increase resistance to high and low temperature stresses. World food production is now threatened by climate change and other global problems. Temperature stress limits the crop productivity all over the world and threatens the food security. Successful development of new temperature stress tolerant crop species will be an important contribution to win this battle and is expected to help maintaining stable food production in the future.