PS Seminar Series - Plastid encoding of key genes for enhanced physiological and structural properties

Abstract In my talk, I’d like to introduce two of my postdoctoral studies where I explored the independent expression of two genes in tobacco: Rubisco activase (RCA) and a spider silk gene, Major ampullate spidroin 1 (MaSp1). With RCA, a nucleus-encoded chloroplast protein, our objective was to enhance photosynthesis, and we observed improved photosynthetic performance in the plastid-encoded RCA overexpression lines. However, these lines showed limited light plasticity due to abnormalities in retrograde signaling. With MaSp1, which is a glycine-rich foreign protein, our goal was to obtain a new structural material. Although MaSp1 had little effect on plant structural properties, we surprisingly found that MaSp1-expressing plants were drought tolerant. This was due to their moderately higher ABA levels that caused ABA priming effects and the formation of a plant stress memory resulting in overall adjustments in multiple drought tolerance mechanisms.

Biography Dr. Shamitha Rao Morey-Yagi (She/Her), is a Program-specific Assistant Professor at Kyoto University, with a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Tokyo, Japan. Her research focuses on sugar metabolism, abiotic stress, and plant physiology, with a particular interest in crop systems. Currently, she is evaluating the use of CO2-utilizing photosynthetic bacteria as plant fertilizer. Driven by a passion for applied research, she is open to collaborations that expand her knowledge and contribute to the development of a sustainable society.