Outline of the project

Jian Feng Ma (Project Leader )
Okayama University, Institute of Plant Science and Resources, Professor

Term of Project: FY2010–2014Dr.Jian Feng Ma

Plants have developed strategies to adapt to various environments during long evolutionary process.  The objective of this project is to systemically elucidate “the power of plants to overcome environment” at the molecular level and to comprehensively understand the molecular networks involved by bringing together researchers from different fields.  The outputs from this project will contribute to protecting the global environment and ensuring sustainable food production through breeding plants (crops) with enhanced stress tolerance.

This project consists of three work packages including “Survival Strategy", "Growth Strategy" and "Mathematical Modeling".  In the “Survival Strategy” group, the focus will be on elucidating the responses of plants to individual stress (soil acidification, nutrient starvation, high temperature, drought, etc) and multiple stresses at the molecular level. Cross talk between different stresses will also be investigated.  The “Growth Strategy” group will examine the molecular mechanisms controlling plant growth including cell division and cell elongation under various environmental stresses.  This work package will also unravel the network controlling cell growth in response to environmental changes. The “Mathematical Modeling” group will establish a theoretical framework for plant growth mechanisms and their responses to different environments by developing mathematical models. Furthermore, computer simulation will also be performed on future environmental changes such as flood, drought, rise in temperature and nitrogen cycle and the results will then feedback to other groups. Through these integrated and collaborative researches among the three groups, we aim to elucidate the network of genes, which can be exploited to achieve high crop productivities under unfavorable environmental conditions.