Project: The role of the N-end rule pathway in controlling plant response to the environment

Manipulation of plants to provide stability of yield under unpredictable growth conditions will be essential to respond to the effect of climate change in increasing the uncertainty of the agricultural environment. Selective and conditional removal of regulator proteins by proteolysis is emerging as a major regulatory principle in plants. The aim of the N-vironment project is to provide a complete mechanistic understanding of the role of the N-end rule pathway of targeted proteolysis in controlling plant responses to the environment. To achieve this goal consortium partners have been selected that represent internationally leading European teams with complementary expertise in the pathway´s multiple facets, including the biochemical basis of the pathway, hypoxia, transcriptional regulation of stress and metabolic signalling. The project will bring together six research groups with complementary expertise in fundamental molecular plant science, biochemistry and chemistry, in four institutions. The research programme of the N-vironment consortium will be achieved through six inter-related Work Packages (WPs) carried out by the four consortium partners (three funded by ERA-CAPS, one associated laboratory). The objectives of these work packages are related to three fundamental questions that arose after integration of the recent discoveries by consortium members of the role of the N-end rule pathway of targeted proteolysis as a major regulator of plant development and response to the environment. Question 1: What are the substrates and enzymatic components of the N-end rule pathway? Question 2: How is the N-end rule pathway integrated into cellular signaling pathways? Question 3: What is the extent of the role of the N-end rule pathway in plant response to the biotic and abiotic environment? The proposed research has highly innovative measurable outcomes that address this newly discovered area of plant biology, and will uncover: New mechanisms regulating protein stability, new mechanisms of environmental stress sensing, new functions for proteins in stress sensing, the importance of the N-end rule in a key EU crop, tomato. This fast-developing area of plant molecular science is led by N-vironment members (including discovery of substrates, methods of entry into the N-end rule pathway, biochemical components of the pathway), and together with the availability of a large number of unique resources within the consortium, makes the N-vironment proposal highly novel and timely. The synergistic value of this collaborative programme will be the development and exploitation of a highly novel area of plant biology of key importance to agriculture, in which Europe has the capacity to take a world lead through ERA-CAPS funding.

Acronym N-vironment
Website visit project website
Call ERA-CAPS 1st Joint Call: Expanding the European Research Area in Molecular Plant Sciences

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
RWTH Aachen University Germany
University of Vienna Austria
Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies Italy
University of Nottingham Coordinator United Kingdom