Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research

Ithaca, NY, United States

Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research

Ithaca, NY, United States

The Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research is an independent research institute devoted to using plant science to improve agriculture, protect the environment, and enhance human health. BTI is located on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA, and is fully integrated in the research infrastructure of the University. Faculty at BTI are members of several Cornell Departments, including Plant Biology, Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Molecular Biology & Genetics, as well as Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology. BTI is governed by a Board of Directors, which is in part appointed by Cornell. Wikipedia.

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Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research | Date: 2016-12-06

Compositions and methods for creating plants exhibiting enhanced resistance to abiotic stresses, especially cold stress are disclosed.

Compositions and methods for increasing disease resistance in plants, particularly tomato plants are disclosed.

Harrison M.J.,Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
Current Opinion in Plant Biology | Year: 2012

In arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis, AM fungi colonize root cortical cells to obtain carbon from the plant, while assisting the plant with the acquisition of mineral nutrients from the soil. Within the root cells, the fungal hyphae inhabit membrane-bound compartments that the plant establishes to accommodate the fungal symbiont. Recent data provide new insights into the events associated with development of the symbiosis including signaling for the formation of a cellular apparatus that guides hyphal growth through the cell. Plant genes that play key roles in a cellular program for the accommodation of microbial symbionts have been identified. In the inner cortical cells, tightly regulated changes in gene expression accompanied by a transient reorientation of secretion, enables the cell to build and populate the periarbuscular membrane with its unique complement of transporter proteins. Similarities between the cellular events for development of the periarbuscular membrane and cell plate formation are emerging. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Dempsey D.A.,Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research | Klessig D.F.,Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
Trends in Plant Science | Year: 2012

Following pathogen infection, activation of systemic acquired resistance (SAR) in uninfected tissues requires transmission of a signal(s) from the infected tissue via the vasculature. Several candidates for this long-distance signal have been identified, including methyl salicylate (MeSA), an SFD1/GLY1-derived glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P)-dependent signal, the lipid-transfer protein DIR1, the dicarboxylic acid azelaic acid (AzA), the abietane diterpenoid dehydroabietinal (DA), jasmonic acid (JA), and the amino acid-derivative pipecolic acid (Pip). Some of these signals work cooperatively to activate SAR and/or regulate MeSA metabolism. However, Pip appears to activate SAR via an independent pathway that may impinge on these other signaling pathway(s) during . de novo salicylic acid (SA) biosynthesis in the systemic tissue. Thus, a complex web of cross-interacting signals appears to activate SAR. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Zhang S.,Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences | Year: 2014

Plants respond to environmental changes by acclimation that activates defence mechanisms and enhances the plant's resistance against a subsequent more severe stress. Chloroplasts play an important role as a sensor of environmental stress factors that interfere with the photosynthetic electron transport and enhance the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). One of these ROS, singlet oxygen ((1)O2), activates a signalling pathway within chloroplasts that depends on the two plastid-localized proteins EXECUTER 1 and 2. Moderate light stress induces acclimation protecting photosynthetic membranes against a subsequent more severe high light stress and at the same time activates (1)O2-mediated and EXECUTER-dependent signalling. Pre-treatment of Arabidopsis seedlings with moderate light stress confers cross-protection against a virulent Pseudomonas syringae strain. While non-pre-acclimated seedlings are highly susceptible to the pathogen regardless of whether (1)O2- and EXECUTER-dependent signalling is active or not, pre-stressed acclimated seedlings without this signalling pathway lose part of their pathogen resistance. These results implicate (1)O2- and EXECUTER-dependent signalling in inducing acclimation but suggest also a contribution by other yet unknown signalling pathways during this response of plants to light stress.

Klee H.J.,University of Florida | Giovannoni J.J.,Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
Annual Review of Genetics | Year: 2011

Tomato ripening is a highly coordinated developmental process that coincides with seed maturation. Regulated expression of thousands of genes controls fruit softening as well as accumulation of pigments, sugars, acids, and volatile compounds that increase attraction to animals. A combination of molecular tools and ripening-affected mutants has permitted researchers to establish a framework for the control of ripening. Tomato is a climacteric fruit, with an absolute requirement for the phytohormone ethylene to ripen. This dependence upon ethylene has established tomato fruit ripening as a model system for study of regulation of its synthesis and perception. In addition, several important ripening mutants, including rin, nor, and Cnr, have provided novel insights into the control of ripening processes. Here, we describe how ethylene and the transcription factors associated with the ripening process fit together into a network controlling ripening. © 2011 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

Richards E.J.,Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
Current Opinion in Plant Biology | Year: 2011

Researchers are beginning to use wild plant populations to survey and assess cytosine methylation polymorphisms in a population and ecological genetic framework. These studies support the plausibility of adaptive epigenetic alleles, but uncertainty remains due to the difficulty in untangling genetic and epigenetic variation in wild populations. The increasing emphasis on stress-induced epigenetic alterations and transgenerational phenomena among researchers focused on epigenetic mechanisms should push practitioners of this subfield to consider the questions and tools of colleagues grappling with epigenetics from ecological and evolutionary perspectives. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research | Date: 2015-09-15

Compositions and methods for enhancing disease resistance in plants are disclosed.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: PLANT GENOME RESEARCH PROJECT | Award Amount: 730.08K | Year: 2015

Plants provide us with food, feed, fiber, medicines, fuel and other bioproducts, and in so doing sequester carbon dioxide, create habitat, stabilize landscapes and encompass an extraordinary biodiversity. Both environmental preservation and human uses of plants require knowledge of plant form and function, from the molecular to ecosystem perspectives, and spanning single-celled, aquatic organisms to domesticated agricultural species and their wild relatives, to the tallest trees. Plant research underpinned the Green Revolution, and is now being called upon to address a range of challenges in food, health and the environment. Because of the breadth of plant science and its associated experimental technologies, the field faces significant headwinds to address multilateral, multidisciplinary experimental questions. This project will form the Coordinated Plant Science Research and Education Network, a network of research and education societies with involvement in plant science research that continues and amplifies a successful effort to unite a broad spectrum of plant scientists around a strategic plan called the Decadal Vision that was published in 2013. The Network has two major goals: (1) to catalyze interdisciplinary training and research by encouraging and facilitating information exchange among its six founding member societies, a number intended to grow; and (2) to use dedicated workshops to seek novel solutions to broaden participation in plant sciences, and to re-examine how postdoctoral fellows should be trained in the plant sciences. Improved cross-talk between different stripes of experimental plant scientists, and with those contributing enabling technologies from imaging to robotics to informatics, promises to enrich and enliven the plant community, while leading to exciting and empowering fundamental discoveries about the wonders of plants.

By serving as a forum through which plant science constituencies coordinate their efforts to advance plant science research, education, and innovation, the Coordinated Plant Science Research and Education Network will coordinate and facilitate a successful effort by the broader plant community to establish a consensus-driven set of priorities which culminated in the 2013 publication of Unleashing a Decade of Innovation in Plant Science: A vision for 2015-2025. The founding members of the Network are the American Society of Plant Biologists, the Alliance of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science Societies, the American Phytopathological Society, the American Society for Horticultural Science, the Botanical Society of America, the Genetics Society of America, and the Council on Undergraduate Research. The Network will be open to any interested scientific professional associations and will proactively engage other organizations with an interest in the study of plants. One of the main goals of the Network is to serve as a clearinghouse for the research, education and outreach activities and opportunities for its members and the wider plant science community. Expected outcomes include new collaborations among societies and scientists, including new interdisciplinary collaborative research projects that will advance the frontiers of plant sciences, and innovative recruitment and training strategies for the next generation of scientists required for excellence in U.S. plant science research. The Network will also convene two workshops, on broadening participation and postdoctoral training that aim to catalyze career building and diversification within the plant science workforce. To communicate the wonder and importance of plant research, the Network will develop a shared set of consistent messages to the public, including authoritative, science-based information on key societally relevant topics. Internal and external communication for the Network will be through, a modular web interface custom designed to serve the needs of the Network and members of the broader plant science community.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: SYMBIOSIS DEF & SELF RECOG | Award Amount: 372.00K | Year: 2015

Diseases of crop plants pose serious economic and environmental challenges to U.S. agriculture. The goal of this research is to generate knowledge that contributes to a comprehensive understanding of the plant immune system and enable innovative methods for the generation of crop plants that are naturally more resistant to pathogens. Such plants will reduce dependence on chemical pesticides, produce economic benefits for farmers, provide food for U.S. consumers that has fewer pesticide residues, and will contribute to the long-term improvement and sustainability of U.S. agriculture. The project focuses on the interaction of tomato with a bacterial pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato, which results in speck disease. This plant-pathogen interaction will be used to investigate how plants recognize specific pathogens and activate their immune systems in order to decrease the damage caused by diseases. The investigator will train a postdoctoral associate and a graduate student in cutting-edge molecular and biochemical methods used for the study of plant-pathogen interactions.

An important unanswered question in our understanding of plant immunity is how recognition of pathogen effectors by disease resistance (R) proteins is transmitted to mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades. These cascades consist of three sequentially activated protein kinases (MAPKKK-MAPKK-MAPK) and play a central role in immunity-related signal transduction leading ultimately to localized cell death and other defense responses that limit the infection process. A MAPKKK (hereafter M3Ka) was identified previously as a positive regulator of the immune response. Subsequently Mai1, a protein kinase with a tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domain, was discovered to be an interactor of M3Ka. Plants with reduced expression of Mai1 are unable to activate immune signaling in response to three R proteins. In this project multiple experimental approaches will be used to test the hypothesis that Mai1 is a molecular bridge between recognition of effectors by R proteins and MAPK signaling. The project objectives are to: 1) Develop plants with reduced expression of Mai1 and characterize the contribution of Mai1 to immunity; 2) Investigate the physical interaction of Mai1 with immunity-associated host proteins; 3) Characterize the possible role of post-translational modifications and the TPR domain in Mai1 activity. Mai1 provides an entry point into understanding how host recognition of pathogen effectors is transmitted to an important immunity-associated MAPK cascade and on to defense responses that limit disease. The proposed research will build on a well-understood plant-pathogen system to generate new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying immunity-associated signal transduction in plants.

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