PS Seminar Series - A SWEET Journey from Source to Sink in Setaria viridis

Abstract: Currently there is little known about the apoplastic transport pathways of C4 grasses and how sugars are exported from the source leaves to the sinks such as stems and seeds. Given that a large proportion of the world’s food and feedstock crops are C4 grasses such as maize, sorghum, millet and sugarcane, a better understanding of how photoassimilates are translocated throughout the plant is needed. Here Setaria virdis is used as a C4 model grass to study how a key sugar transporter named Sugars Will Eventually be Exported (SWEETs) might be involved in the phloem loading and post-phloem pathways. Up until their discovery it was unknown how sugars were exported from cells into the apoplast for uptake by sucrose transporters (SUTs). SWEETs can transport a variety of substrates where here specific focus will be placed on SvSWEET4 proteins and the homologues SvSWEET13a and SvSWEET13b and their roles in the source and sink tissues. This presentation will discuss the recent publication of this work.

Biography: Lily did her Bachelor of Biotechnology at the University of Newcastle with honours under the guidance of Professor Chris Grof. Following this, she moved to Canberra to do her PhD with Professor Bob Furbank at RSB at The Australian National University which she finished in 2020 working on SWEETs in S. viridis. As a PhD student she was a part of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis which enabled her to learn a variety of molecular biology skills. After the completion of her PhD, she moved to Western Sydney University to take up a Postdoctoral position with Professor Oula Ghannoum working on sugar sensing in C4 grasses under an ARC Discovery Project in collaboration with Bob Furbank and Dr Matthew Paul at Rothamsted Research.