25 March 2019 from 10:30 to 11:30

PhD defence of Lennard van der Woude

Studying thermomorphogenesis using the bio-active small molecule Heatin

Climate change is threatening global food security as rising average temperatures cause yield reductions of staple crops. Research into how plants respond to higher temperatures can result in the development of novel thermotolerant crop varieties. However, temperature affects (almost) all processes in the plant. Therefore, research into a single temperature effect, for example architectural adaptations of plants grown under high temperatures (thermomorphogenesis) with the aim of improving cooling capacity, is a big challenge. 
We employed a chemical-genetic strategy, where chemical compounds are used to study a biological system. This led to the identification of a novel chemical compound, named Heatin, that simulates thermomorphogenesis already under control temperature conditions. This allowed us to circumvent the difficulty of the pervasiveness of temperature effects. Following a chemical proteomics approach, proteins have been isolated that interact with Heatin. This led to the identification of the family of Nitrilase proteins as direct Heatin interactors and regulators of thermomorphogenesis. These proteins have previously been identified as a component of biosynthesis of the hormone auxin that is required for thermomorphogenesis. This knowledge can now be used to breed for climate adapted crops.

Start date and time
25 March 2019 10:30
End date and time
25 March 2019 11:30
PhD candidate
L.C. van der Woude
Dissertation
Studying thermomorphogenesis using the bio-active small molecule Heatin
PhD supervisor(s)
prof. dr. J.C.M. Smeekens
Co-supervisor(s)
dr. ing. M. van Zanten