“This work is instrumental as it gives us feedback on the protocols that work well in E. coli, algae, moss, and Arabidopsis, and thus they are worth trying in sunflower as well”Dr. Götz Hensel, the Centre for Plant Genome Engineering (CPGE) of Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
The GAIN4CROP project aims to bring the essential features of the C4 photosynthesis into the sunflower. At Dr. Hensel’s lab at the CEPLAS, the Centre for Plant Genome Engineering (CPGE) of Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, researchers are taking care of all the steps necessary for the genetic transformation and find the best way to implement the desired changes in the sunflower. “We might need to integrate or relocate some plant metabolic fluxes, even establish them if they are not present or redirect some sources from one site to another,” explains Dr. Götz Hensel. “Such changes in the sunflower are not trivial, but thanks to the partners’ work on the other model organisms, we already have some solid data and pre-testing to guide our work.”
A key aspect of GAIN4CROPS strategy is the collection of expertise on several model organisms of increasing cellular and anatomical complexity and simulated models of plant metabolism. Indeed, the work at Hensel’s lab is also to create some intermediate vectors, which then can be used by the partners on the different model organisms. “This work is instrumental as it gives us feedback on the protocols that work well in E. coli, algae, moss, and Arabidopsis, and thus they are worth trying in sunflower as well.” Altogether, these models provide a comprehensive testing platform to learn about limiting steps before moving to the target plant.