D’Erica Boskie, Xingyun Qi (faculty)
Water scarcity is one of the most influential factors for crop production. Understanding how plants effectively use limited water resources is crucial for future food security under the global water crisis. When moving from water to land, plants developed various strategies to adapt to the dry environment over evolution, including developing more advanced root system for higher water intake, decreasing stomatal density to reduce water loss, etc.
Subtilases (SBTs) are serine peptidases that may have influence over epidermal patterning and vascular development in plants (Berger et al., 2000). The function for most SBTs are largely unknown so far, and the effects of these peptidases on stomatal development remain elusive.
In this study, we examined the T-DNA mutants of several SBTs that are expressed in leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana. Once a knock-out mutant of a SBT gene is confirmed, phenotypic analysis on root development, stomatal formation, and plant morphology and growth will be performed under normal condition and drought stress, to evaluate the function of the SBT gene in plant drought tolerance.