Plant autophagy & plant development
Autophagy is a catabolic pathway that ensures sustainability of a eukaryotic cell. It recycles cellular content, keeping the cell functional and reducing its requirement for outsourced energy and nutrients.
Autophagy sequesters cellular content into a newly build double membrane vesicles, called autophagosomes, and deliveres them to a lytic compartment for degradation. The products of degradation are then recycled by the cell (1). It is an extremely interesting example of a mechanism conserved among almost all eukaryotes (2, 3) and shaped to fit different life strategies.
Autophagy (from the Greek αὐτόφαγος, autóphagos - self-eating)
Why plant development?
Plants are sessile organisms, they cannot move away from bad weather or walk towards nutrients. Instead plants evolved an unprecedented skill to adapt. I am interested in uncovering how the catabolic power of plant autophagy is weaved into the plant phenotypic plasticity and how could we fine-tune it to make our crops better.