Zoom Seminar: Drought resistance by engineering plant tissue-specific responses - Ana Cano-Delgado

May 2021

  • Datum: 12.05.2021
  • Uhrzeit: 14:00 - 15:30
  • Vortragende(r): Ana Cano-Delgado
  • Ort: Zoom
  • Gastgeber: Bernd Müller-Röber

Drought is the primary cause of agricultural loss globally, and represents a major threat to food security. Currently, plant biotechnology stands as one of the most promising strategies to obtain crops capable of producing high yields in water-limited conditions. From the study of Arabidopsis thaliana whole plants, the main response mechanisms to drought stress have been uncovered, and multiple drought resistance genes have been engineered into crops. So far, most of the plants with enhanced drought resistance have displayed reduced crop yield, meaning there is a need to search for novel approaches to uncouple drought resistance from plant growth. Our laboratory has recently shown that the receptors of brassinosteroid (BR) hormones use tissue-specific pathways to allocate different developmental responses during root growth. In Arabidopsis, we have found that increasing BRL3 receptors of BRs in the vascular tissues confers resistance to drought without penalizing growth, opening up an exceptional opportunity to investigate the mechanisms that confer drought resistance with cellular specificity in plants. We are translating our results to the cereal Sorghum. In the seminar, I will provide an overview of our current finding on phenotypical analysis of drought traits that could be improved biotechnologically to obtain drought-tolerant cereals. In addition, we discuss how current genome editing technologies might help to identify and manipulate novel genes that will grant resistance to drought stress. In the coming years, great contributions are expected in terms of the identification of sustainable solutions for enhancing crop production in water‑limited environments.


1. Gupta A., Rico-Medina A. and Caño-Delgado A.I. The Physiology of Plant Responses to Drought. Science. (2020) ;368(6488):266-269.

2. Martignago D, Rico-Medina A, Blasco-Escámez D, Fontanet-Manzaneque JB, Caño-Delgado A.I.*Drought Resistance by Engineering Plant Tissue-Specific Responses. Front Plant Sci. (2020) Jan 22;10:1676.

3. Fàbregas, N., Lozano-Elena, F., Blasco-Escámez, D., Tohge, T., Martínez-Andújar, C., Osorio, S., Bustamante, M., Riechmann, J.L., Conesa A., Pérez-Alfocea, F., Fernie, A.R., Caño-Delgado, A.I*. (2018). A Brassinosteroid Metabolic Signature Confers Drought Resistance Without Impacting Plant Growth. Nature Comms. 9, 4680.

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