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Phellogen development and stress response in cork oak - the role of transcription factor Myb68
Coordinator - Sónia Gonçalves
CESAM Responsible researcher - Glória Catarina Pinto
Programme - PTDC/AGR-GPL/118856/2010
Execution dates - 2012-01-01 - 2014-12-31 (36 Months)
Funding Entity - FCT
Funding for CESAM - 5520 €
Total Funding - 127.965 €
Proponent Institution - Centro de Biotecnologia Agrícola e Agro-Alimentar do Baixo Alentejo e Litoral (CEBAL)
Participating Institutions
Universidade de Aveiro
Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica (ITQB/UNL)
Universidad de Oviedo - Departamento de Biología de Organismos y Sistemas (UNIOVI/BOS)

Cork oaks (Quercus suber) are natural heritage deserving special attention. These trees are valued for their ecological role to contain desertification and soil erosion, and for their contribution to biodiversity maintenance. In addition, cork oaks are the source of a renewable and sustainable natural product, cork. Cork is a biological material with unique properties that have been known to man since antiquity. The cork layers that are produced in cork oak bark may be stripped off from the stem without endangering the tree vitality and the tree subsequently rebuilds a new cork layer. This is the basis for the sustainable production of cork that feeds an important industrial sector. Research on cork oak has only started in the late 90's, however, many uncertainties and knowledge gaps still remain on the cork formation processes and on the understanding of cork properties fundamentals.  The idea of this project was based on the observation that molecular processes underlying cork biosynthesis and differentiation are mostly unknown and molecular genetic approaches are still lacking. The goal of this project is to further study the role of this R2R3 Myb TF (QsMyb68), in cork development and response to stress.  Expression assays by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) will be performed in Quercus suber (Qs) plants submitted to abiotic stress conditions and in tissues undergoing different stages of suberization. With this we will be able to determine if the expression of QsMyb68 is influenced by the process of suberization and by water and heat stress conditions.

Members on this project