Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Linking stress to growth: Dissecting the components and mode of plant TOR signaling pathway

A Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Division Seminar

By Sunghan Kim
Research professor
Plant Molecular Breeding Center
Department of Plant Science
Seoul National University
Gwanak-gu, Seoul, South Korea

1400H, Wednesday, 8 May 2013
Room A, Umali Hall


Controlling cell division and growth is an essential part of the genetic program employed by all living organism to ensure better survival and maintain a definite body plan. Plants face a variety of environmental challenges and adjust their growth patterns depending upon the nutrition and both biotic and abiotic stresses throughout their life cycle. In animals and yeast, TOR (Target Of Rapamycin) kinase has been identified as a “master regulator” of growth and resides at the interface of stress and nutrient sensing pathways, modulating various metabolic and growth responses including the cell cycle, ribosome biogenesis, cell death, and maintenance of cytoskeleton. We have identified and characterized basic components of the plant TOR signaling pathway in Arabidopsis and also began to expand our understanding of the plant TOR signaling in other plant systems such as soybean and rice. In particular, our results identified involvement of ribosomal S6 protein and a plant-specific histone deacetylase, HD2B, in the regulation of the rDNA transcription, providing an evidence for epigenetic control mechanism for plant ribosome biogenesis by TOR pathway. More recently, we also found that the TOR pathway was playing a critical role in soybean nodule development, demonstrating the conserved role of TOR kinase in the control of cell proliferation and ribosome biogenesis. Developing an environmentally more robust crop plants through manipulation of the TOR signaling pathway appears to have a promising potential and thus understanding the detailed mechanism by which TOR pathway operates to regulate the growth and proliferation of plant cells in response to various stress signals would be the key in accomplishing such goal.

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