“We found many of these mutations,” Cutler said. “But each one on its own gave us only partly what we were looking for. But when we carefully stacked the right ones together, we got the desired effect: the receptor locked in its on state, which, in turn, was able to activate the stress response pathway in plants.”
Study results appear in tomorrow's (Dec. 20) issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Next, the research team plans to take this basic science from the lab into the field – a process that could take many years.
The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc.
Cutler was joined in the research by Assaf Mosquna (a postdoctoral reseacher and the first author of the research paper), Sang-Youl Park and Jorge Lozano-Juste at UCR; and Francis C. Peterson and Brian F. Volkman at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
UCR's Office of Technology Commercialization has applied for a patent on Cutler's discovery.