How do plants adapt to environmental stresses?

Getting to grips with how SUMO protein modification works

Photo by Keagan Henman on Unsplash

Lead researchers: Malcolm Bennett, Rahul Bhosale, David Salt, Leah Band and Tony Bishopp

Plants are immobile organisms and so rely on their ability to adapt to the environment to survive. Plant responses to stresses like heat, high salinity and drought involve a rapid, reversible process that modifies proteins called SUMO (small ubiquitin-like modifier).

Nottingham researchers have already demonstrated that manipulating SUMO modification of key proteins can help plants survive and flourish in harsh environments. In this project, the Nottingham team will help create a SUMO Cell Atlas by imaging components of the SUMO machinery using advanced approaches, then exploit this knowledge to manipulate key SUMO targets in crops and assess their stress tolerance using state of the art facilities.

Our project will also expand understanding of what triggers SUMO modification and how this helps plants adapt to environmental stresses. This work will make a significant contribution towards futureproofing crops against climate change and combatting production shortages.

Funded by a BBSRC sLoLa grant.

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