Investigating a Plant Protein Complex involved in Plant Fiber Biogenesis

Saturday, February 13, 2016
John Tran, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Innovations in agricultural practices are required to meet the challenges posed by global climate change and rapid population growth, which is estimated to surpass 9.5 billion people globally by the year 2050. One possible solution is to engineer plants to become more productive and, at the same time, more robust in extreme environments. Plants produce important materials such as carbohydrates and dietary fiber in the cell wall, which play an important role in a healthy human diet. Our lab is interested in understanding the architecture of the plant cell wall by asking two fundamental questions: how is it made, and how is it regulated? Using a biochemical and proteomics approach, we have evidence for a protein complex that likely synthesizes an important component of the plant cell wall, which brings us closer to understanding the mechanisms of plant cell wall formation. We plan to further investigate how this protein complex is regulated and whether other proteins are involved in the synthesis and regulation of this component in the plant cell wall. Our work has the potential to help improve the quality of fibrous plant material for improved uses in the production of food, forage, and bioenergy to address the challenges of the future.