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MSU Plant Resilience Institute Seminar & Research Discussion (Sept 22): Sean Cutler
September 22, 2016 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Chemical Control of Plant Water Consumption
Research Discussion: 11:00am—Noon
Rising temperatures and lessening fresh water supplies are threatening agricultural productivity and have motivated efforts to improve plant water use and drought tolerance. During water deficit, plants produce elevated levels of abscisic acid (ABA), which improves water consumption and stress tolerance by controlling guard cell aperture and other protective responses. My laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of ABA perception and utilizing this knowledge to design both new small molecule agonists and genetic constructs that can be used to manipulate crop water use and drought tolerance. For example, we have developed a potent ABA receptor agonist called quinabactin  that can be used to control water consumption in soybean and other crop species. As a complementary strategy we have recently explored orthogonal ABA receptors that we engineered to respond to an existing agrochemical . This latter strategy enables chemical control of water consumption using a molecule in current agricultural use, this bypassing the need for new chemistry. We anticipate that this strategy can be applied to other plant receptors and opens new doors for crop improvement. My seminar will discuss ongoing efforts to manipulate transpiration using new ABA receptor agonists as well as ongoing efforts to understand the signaling events triggered by water deficit using a combination of chemical, genetic and biochemical approaches.
1. Okamoto, M., Peterson, F. C., Defries, A., Park, S.-Y., Endo, A., Nambara, E., Volkman, B. F., and Cutler, S. R. “Activation of Dimeric ABA Receptors Elicits Guard Cell Closure, ABA-Regulated Gene Expression, and Drought Tolerance” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110, (2013): 12132–12137.
2. Park, S.-Y., Peterson, F. C., Mosquna, A., Yao, J., Volkman, B. F., and Cutler, S. R. “Agrochemical Control of Plant Water Use Using Engineered Abscisic Acid Receptors” Nature 520, (2015): 545-548