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Abiotic stresses such as heat, drought or salinity negatively affect plant growth and vegetative and reproductive development, which in consequence reduces survival and yield. Although much has been learned about how plants respond to abiotic stresses, key questions remain to be answered, and knowledge gained from studies on model plants needs to be translated for utilization in crops. The shoot apical meristem (SAM) has a pivotal role in shoot growth, however, surprisingly little is currently known about how it responds to – and copes with - abiotic stresses at the molecular or biochemical levels. The response of the SAM to - potentially detrimental - stress and the cellular machinery that allows it to fully recover after a stress to sustain further plant growth are key aspects we study.
Our current work focuses on the effect of heat stress on the SAM of Arabidopsis thaliana, and how the SAM recovers from it upon return to normal growth temperature.
Keywords: Abiotic stress, drought, heat, shoot apical meristem, transcription factor, Arabidopsis