Project: Functional analysis of caspase homologues in Arabidopsis thaliana
01-OCT-01 – 30-SEP-05
Caspases are important regulator molecules of apoptotic cell death in animails. Recent evidence shows possible involvement of caspase homologues in activation of cell death in plants. A family of caspase-like proteins has been recently identified in silico in plants, and is called metacaspases. This project intends to functionally characterize the caspase homologues in Arabidopsis thaliana, thus helping to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying plant cell death. A first part of the project aims at elucidating the function of these caspase homologues by generating transgenic plants which have a higher or lower expression of these proteins. In the case that no transgenic plants can be obtained, a heat shock-inducible expression system will be applied. A second part concentrates on the regulatory network of the metacaspases with the focus on identifying the interacting partners such as upstream signal molecules and substrates. Study of the regulatory network will be accomnplished by using the yeast two-hybrid system. After identifying the structure of the active enzyme there will be searched for substrates of the metacaspases via a modified yeast two-hybrid system. A selection of these interacting partners will also be functionally characterized.