Nutrient recycling in the perennial model plant Arabis alpina
Annual monocarpic plants, such as Arabidopsis thaliana, complete their life cycle within one growing season whereat reproductive development is initiated in all shoot meristems. Contrary to that, perennial polycarpic plants live for many years, set seeds repeatedly and maintain vegetative growth after flowering. The arctic-alpine plant Arabis alpina is a polycarpic perennial species from the family Brassicaceae. As a perennial plant, Arabis alpina has to survive also during unfavorable seasonal conditions with low temperatures. Once warmer temperatures are established, flowering and finally seed maturation are induced in Arabis alpina. Contrary to Arabidopsis thaliana, the whole plant does not die after seed maturation. While reproductive shoots senesce, vegetative parts of the plant remain alive. The setting of seeds occurs relatively rapidly after a period with low temperatures which means that Arabis alpina has to provide nutrients quickly. Little is known about the nutrient storage and relocation in the perennial polycarpic plant Arabis alpina. The investigation of nutrient storage during the unfavorable weather conditions and the use of these nutrients in the subsequent warmer season in Arabis alpina will be the major focus of my project. This will include the identification of metabolites important for nutrient recycling and storage as well as the investigation of genes involved in nutrient allocation and storage.