Plants are wired with internal long-distance communication systems that enable roots and shoots to coordinate growth under fluctuating environments. The C-terminally encoded peptide (CEP) signaling relay is one such system. Under limited N conditions, plants produce CEP peptides in their roots that travel up into the shoot where they bind to two CEP receptors (CEPRs). These receptors turn on the production of shoot-derived polypeptides, CEP Downstream 1/2 (CEPD1/2) that descend back down into the roots where they function to increase N uptake
My aim is to create biotic drought-sensor plants that produce a fluorescent signal in response to water replete environments. I plan to engineer a novel synthetic system in tomato that is constructed around the core components involved in CEP nitrogen signaling. Tomato offers several advantages; it can be genetically engineered, it can be grafted to demonstrate signal mobility, and it is grown in real field conditions.