Joint Calls

Plant Alternative Splicing and Abiotic Stress

  • Acronym PASAS
  • Duration 3 years
  • Project leader John Brown, University of Dundee, UK
  • Other project participants Andrea Barta, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
    Arthur Jarmolowski*, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland
    Robert Fluhr, The Weizman Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
  • Funding Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Austria
    Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MOARD), Israel
    Biotechnological and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), UK

    * participant with own funding
  • Total Granted budget € 901,784


Alternative splicing (AS) is a major but largely unexplored mechanism for regulation of gene expression affecting all aspects of plant development, viability and adaptability to external conditions including abiotic stress. Alternative splicing can regulate mRNA transcript levels and increase the proteome complexity of an organism. We have shown that current predictions of the number of plant genes which undergo alternative splicing (ca. 35%) are clearly underestimates such that substantially more genes undergo AS and many genes may have more AS events than so far described. In addition, alternative splicing patterns of many genes are affected by different stress conditions and altered levels of interacting splicing factors. It is therefore essential to drive a programme of discovery of new AS events and to develop methods to quantify changes in AS at global and gene-specific levels. We will approach this by applying genomics and bioinformatics tools: 454 sequencing, whole genome tiling arrays, an RT-PCR system to quantify AS transcript levels and algorithms for comparing ESTs, to plants experiencing different abiotic stresses and with altered expression of splicing factors. We will identify new, un-annotated AS events, assess the technologies for their potential to provide quantitative analysis of AS and use these tools to study changes in AS under abiotic stress. We will also use these technologies to extend our examinations of the roles of specific trans-acting alternative splicing factors in regulating AS.

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