Alumni

Investigating the mechanical, physiological and molecular characteristics in drought resistant and drought susceptible Eragrostis species

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Description: My research focused on understanding the underlying mechanical properties and the role of the important signal transducer 14-3-3 group of proteins in drought-tolerant and desiccation-tolerant Eragrostis species in their response to drought and desiccation tolerance. A closely related species Sporobolus staphianus (desiccation tolerant) was used as an out group. We conducted a series of experiments including tensile strength, absolute water content, water potential, electrolyte leakage, light microscopy to ascertain any potential differences in the anatomy, morphology and mechanical properties. Western blot analyses was used to study changes in the expression of eukaryotic signal transducer 14-3-3 proteins under drought stress in this genus. Since the 14-3-3 from Eragrostis is not known, primer walking experiments were carried out to compare the conserved cDNA regions to the known Arabidopsis thaliana 14-3-3 cDNA conserved sequence. My research data supports previous studies that demonstrated that drought and desiccation tolerant grasses utilize different survival strategies during water deprivation. We suggest that 14-3-3 proteins play a role in lignin biosynthesis which in turn contributes to plant drought resistance. From my studies, the drought resistance mechanisms of Eragrostis viscosa are shown to be independent of lignin deposition but instead related to high osmotic potential.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work