Screening for Carotenoid-Derived Signaling Molecules


Project Description

The project focuses on novel signaling molecules involved in plant development and response to environmental stress. It includes studies on the activity of selected carotenoid-metabolizing enzymes and the identification of their enzymatic products. Biological activity of products will be investigated by developmental assays using Arabidopsis and rice and by determining the effect of these compounds on the transcript levels of selected genes including strigolactone biosynthesis genes. These studies will be complemented by geno- and phenotyping of mutants disrupted in the corresponding genes. ​
Program - BioScience
Division - Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Center Affiliation - Center for Desert Agriculture
Field of Study - ​Plant Biochemistry and Development

About the

Salim Al Babili

Professor, Plant Science

Salim Al Babili
​The aim of Dr. Al-Babili's research is to generate crops with improved agricultural performance and enhanced nutritional value. Professor Al-Babili has long-standing experience in engineering crops with enhanced provitamin A content and in elucidating carotenoid-related metabolic pathways. Using combined enzymology-based and genetic approaches, he aims at elucidating metabolic networks and identifying new signaling molecules related to abiotic stress and plant development. Recently he has been focusing on the metabolism of the stress hormone abscisic acid and on strigolactones, a novel class of plant hormones regulating plant architecture and mediating the interaction with symbiotic fungi and root parasitic plants.

Desired Project Deliverables

​Identification of new bioactive compounds/Better understanding of the regulation of strigolactone biosynthesis. Significant contribution to a publication