Abiotic stresses resulting from water stress, high salinity or temperature fluctuations may adversely affect plant growth and development, acting as important selective forces in plant evolution. Raffinose Family Oligosaccharides (RFOs) are compatible solutes involved in adaptation and stress tolerance mechanisms. They are synthesized from sucrose by the subsequent addition of galactinol portions. The key enzyme in the biosynthesis of RFOs is galactinol synthase (GolS), which exists only in plants. This enzyme is encoded by a gene family whose members are differentially regulated depending on the abiotic stress, suggesting that RFOs accumulation is differentially controlled for each stress. GolS biotechnological use in transgenic approaches to produce plants more tolerant to abiotic stresses is well known; however, evolutionary aspects of this gene family are neglected. Recently, several crops had a enourmous gain in genomic and transcriptional resources in last few years. The objective of this project is to understand genomic, transcriptional and evolutionary aspects of galactinol synthase gene family in eight crop genomes: four monocots and four eudicots and monocots. This information will support studies on the molecular basis of stress tolerance as well as assist strategies in selecting genes for biotechnological use in plants.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: