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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #415254

Research Project: Biomonitoring of Nutritional and Environmental Stress in Plants

Location: Application Technology Research

2010 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative project is: 1) to determine the differences in the expression of genes and proteins in plants grown in a greenhouse environment (no UV-B) compared to those in 'field conditions' (normal ambient UV-B concentrations), and 2) to identify the protein and genetic changes during hidden hunger, and using this information, deveolop a technique that growers can use to test their plants for specific and/or general nutrient deficiencies.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Microarray techniques will be used to rapidly screen for global differences in gene expression between the two different UV-B environments and nutrient (i.e., N,P,K,Fe,B, and Mg) stress. The initial use of an existing model plant system (i.e., Arabidopsis thaliana) for this work will facilitate identification of specific genes that are responsive to the absence of UV-B during growth. After identifying such UV-B and nutrient stress responsive genes in Arabidopsis, we can then identify related genes in bedding plant species (i.e., impatiens, petunia, begonia, geranium, marigold, pansy, chrysanthemum, and New Guinea impatiens). Simultaneously, proteomics techniques (i.e., identification of proteins of interest by 2-D gel analysis, followed by protein sequencing) will be used to screen for global differences in protein expression between the two different UV-B environments.

3. Progress Report
The second phase of this research is focusing on development of antibodies for specific proteins that are responsive to specific nutrient stresses. The boron transporter, Bor-1, was identified as a possible target for a biomarker. Antibodies were developed specific to Bor-1, and tests are ongoing to determine its utility as an early detector of boron stress. Other candidate markers are being pursued for potential as molecular markers for boron stress. Additionally, markers unique to phosphorus (P) stress are being identified and developed. Research in the past year has optimized the antibodies already developed and verified their utility in a variety of environments. This work was monitored through weekly face-to-face meetings and shared personnel including a post-doctoral researcher and graduate student.

4. Accomplishments