Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2022
Plant Molecular and Physiological Responses to Drought Jessica Lucas, Mackenzie Seymour, and Brittany Dupree All organisms require water to survive. We all use intricate molecular and physiological systems to regulate internal hydration in response to the ever-changing environment. Anthropogenic changes in climate and freshwater availability stress some organisms’ ability to maintain adequate water for livelihood. Plants possess many unique responses to absorb and retain water from the environment. Here we present our molecular and physiological studies on two plant structures, stomata and seed coats. Stomata are key regulators of plant water loss, photosynthesis, and body temperature. Seed coats protect dormant, embryonic plants from the environment, and seed coats can help seedlings successfully germinate when water is available. We utilized the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, to uncover molecular genetic mechanisms that influence stomata and seed coats. Our mutant analysis shows that a microtubule associated protein impacts stomatal function and seed coat hydration. These data are broadly useful for understanding how plants respond to water in the environment.