Funded by US National Science Foundation
CPSF30 at the convergence of RNA processing, cellular signaling, and development in plants
Gene expression is controlled at many levels, including the processing of RNAs. There remain many questions as to the mechanisms by which environmental inputs (stimuli) lead to changes in RNA processing. The research to be pursued in this project deals with one possible mechanism, involving the role of one RNA processing factor (CPSF30) in regulated gene expression in plants. This work is inspired by prior observations that mutant plants that do not make the protein have an interesting range of phenotypes, and that the protein itself is regulated by a central component of cellular sensory systems. This research will combine genetic, biochemical, molecular, and systems approaches to understand the interplay between cellular signaling and the function of CPSF30. The outcome of this research will be a better understanding of the ways in which stimuli can cause changes in the processing of RNAs in the plant cell. This will in turn contribute to a better understanding of the ways by which plants respond to environmental cues and disease-causing organisms.
This project will have an impact that extends significantly beyond an understanding of gene expression in plants. The expected results will be of help in developing new genetic and biotechnological strategies for improving the performance of crop plants in adverse conditions. This project will involve postdoctoral scientists, graduate students, and undergraduate students. There is a decided cross-disciplinary nature to this project, in that it involves molecular/biochemical, whole-plant, and systems biology approaches. As such, these studies will help to prepare trainees to make contributions in a scientific field (plant biology) that is becoming more cross-disciplinary. Participants (including PIs) will participate in community programs so as to promote interest in and appreciation of science in the general public.