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Arabidopsis 2010 Project




Arabidopsis 2010 Overview

Discovering Transporters for Essential Minerals and Toxic Ions in Plants

The 2010 project is supported by the National Science Foundation to determine the functions of all the genes in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana by the year 2010. The entire genome of the first plant was completely sequenced by 2000 (Arabidopsis Genome Initiative, 2000). We now know the DNA sequences of >27,000 genes that are required by a flowering plant to complete its life cycle. However, the roles of most genes in plant growth, development or adaptation are unknown. The 2010 project was initiated to take advantage of the complete genomic sequence, large mutant collection, extensive databases and powerful new molecular genetic tools.

To participate in this effort, we have initiated a project to determine the function of genes that are predicted to be transporters. Plants have the remarkable ability to take up and distribute essential nutrients and countless metabolites to different organs and cells. Many plants also are able to extrude or compartmentalize toxic levels of heavy metals or excess salt. More intriguingly, plants sense and respond to changing nutrient levels and environmental stresses by altering transporter activities, though how this occurs is for the most part not understood. Most of the uncharacterized transporters are proton-coupled cotransporters. This project has focussed on 57 cation/proton exchangers, including CPA1, CPA2, and CaCA gene families (Table I), and is a collaborative effort of the Hirschi, Sze and Ward laboratories. The Sze laboratory is working on a large group of cation/proton exchangers (AtCHX) as part of the 2010, and has made seminal contributions to uncover the identity and function of proton-pumping ATPases as well as calcium transporters.

We are interested in world-wide collaborations to ensure the success of the 2010 project. I hope the information and resources in this website will be helpful to students and researchers. It is our hope that these studies and efforts will facilitate the broad goals to understand not only functions of Arabidopsis genes but also lead to strategies to clean the environment, and to enhance food productivity, nutritional quality, and stress-tolerance in crop plants.


Contact Dr. Heven Sze:
HJ Patterson Hall * University of Maryland * College Park, MD 20742

Department of Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics | College of Chemical & Life Sciences

University of Maryland