Resurrection plants work recognised by peers

Published on 17/10/2018

LIST researchers in ecological innovation took part in the “Resurrection plants: Hope for crop drought tolerance” (ReHOPE) workshop organized by the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) in Bulgaria from 20 to 22 September 2018. As part of this three-days workshop devoted to a unique group of flora that can survive extreme water shortages for years - resurrection plants, comprising more than 130 known varieties in the world, the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) took part in three ‘Best poster presentation” sessions.

Strength of resurrection plants

Two out of the three ‘Best poster presentation” were awarded to Xuan Xu and Jenny Renaut, both researchers at LIST, a real recognition of their work on the resurrection plant Craterostigma plantagineum. The first poster focused on the characterization of its cell wall and dissected, in particular, its mechanism of folding and unfolding at molecular and cellular level thanks to various multidisciplinary approaches including chemical analyses, imaging and transcriptomic profiling. The second one was presenting data not only on proteomics and metabolomics analyses of the dehydration/rehydration cycle of Craterostigma plantagineum but also on the transcriptomic results.

At this event, Xuan Xu also had a presentation on the dynamic changes in transcriptome and cell wall composition of Craterostigma plantagineum in response to dehydration and rehydration.

Molecules and mechanisms under study

The analyses presented were performed within LIST laboratories in Belvaux, Luxembourg, by researchers specialized in plant biotechnologies and in analytical chemistry, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics.

Their work is part of the research project 'Integrated -omics and functional study of the cell wall folding mechanism in resurrection plants' (SMARTWALL) funded by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) and led in collaboration with University of Bonn, Germany. By August 2020, the project partners intend to have a better understanding of the molecules and mechanisms involved in the ability of the plant to withstand a dehydration down to 2% of its relative water content, and to recover in less than 24 hours its physiological capacities. The knowledge thus generated will help to develop drought-tolerant crop, as well as biomimetic materials that can change shape in response to the humidity of the environment.

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