We are using several in silico, in vitro and in planta approaches to define the role of lncNATs in the context of multigene families of A. thaliana and to identify the processes in which they are involved. These approaches include the analysis of available mutants and the generation of reporter, overexpression, knock-down and knock-out lines to figure out the function of the lncNATs and to characterize the generated transcripts and their potential target(s) using a combination of molecular biology, biochemistry, transcriptomics, proteomics and bioinformatics. Our studies of two lncNATs overlapping genes of the uridine diphosphate glycosyltransferases (UGTs) superfamily and one overlapping a member of the AUX/IAA proteins family provide insights about the action of lncNATs in a multigene family context.
Collaborative Project: RNA-based tools for plant protection
With the aim to generate plants with increased resistance to pathogens, we actively collaborate with Prof. Behrens, from the Martin Luther University, in the development of the project “A new technique to protect plants against virus infections”. This project is focused in the design, optimization and use of RNA-based tools for the control of viral infections. By using in silico and in vitro approaches, we identified virus-derived small RNAs efficient for protection and confirmed their activity in planta. Based on the success of the mentioned strategy, we aim to extend its use for the control of other plant pathogens.
Gago-Zachert S, Schuck J, Weinholdt C, Knoblich M, Pantaleo V, Grosse I, Gursinsky T, Behrens SE. Highly efficacious antiviral protection of plants by small interfering RNAs identified in vitro. Nucleic Acids Res. 2019 Sep 26;47(17):9343-9357. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkz678.