The cereals, e.g. barley and wheat, are extreme monocarpic plants exerting a fast and radical transition from a vigorously growing green plant into a fully matured harvestable plant over a relatively short period. We are studying the components and genetic regulation of this process, the senescence process, that is of importance for the yield level of the crop and for its quality, e.g. in terms of mineral nutrient contents of the harvested grain. Senescence is highly influenced by environmental stress, and hence we also have a focus on stress adaptation of cereal crop plants, involving disease resistance genes and the formation of secondary metabolites.
1) Leaf senescence in cereals, with the focus on regulation by NAC transcription factors.
2) Disease resistance genes in wheat, focused on the development of a screening strategy to assign specificity to pathogen strain-specific resistance genes.
3) Regulation of genes in the benzoxazinoid biosynthetic pathway in rye and wheat, for the production of putatively health-promoting secondary metabolites in cereals.