Medicago truncatula is non-crop model legume species, and is closely related to alfalfa. Legumes are key components of sustainable agricultural systems because they form symbioses with bacteria that help the nitrogen fixation and reduces the need for nitrogen fertilizers.
Small signaling peptides (SSPs) are an important class of regulatory molecules in plants, and they are involved in the control of plant growth and development, and also in plant defense. Recently, it has become clear that SSPs control both nodule and root development in legumes.
The main objective of this project is to identify macronutrient-responsive SSPs, and novel SSPs that control root and nodule development in M. truncatula and other species, with a long-term view of using SSPs in non-transgenic approaches to improve plants for agriculture. By taking a systematic, genome-wide approach to determining the roles of uncharacterized SSPs in M. truncatula, this project will advance our currently knowledge of this class of important regulatory molecules in plants.
We are currently developing the MtSSP database, including the SSP Gene Expression Atlas (SSP-GEA) that integrates large scale genome data from RNA-seq experiments with Mt re-annotated genes, SSP-coding genes, SSP gene families, annotation information, and also multiple tools. The SSP-GEA provides different analysis tools, including Expression Profile, Differential Expression, Co-expression and GO enrichment.
The MtSSPdb represents the first comprehensive genomic database for small signaling peptides in M. truncatula.