Synthetic strategies for plant signalling studies: molecular toolbox and orthogonal platforms

Justine Braguy, Matias D. Zurbriggen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Plants deploy a wide array of signalling networks integrating environmental cues with growth, defence and developmental responses. The high level of complexity, redundancy and connection between several pathways hampers a comprehensive understanding of involved functional and regulatory mechanisms. The implementation of synthetic biology approaches is revolutionizing experimental biology in prokaryotes, yeasts and animal systems and can likewise contribute to a new era in plant biology. This review gives an overview on synthetic biology approaches for the development and implementation of synthetic molecular tools and techniques to interrogate, understand and control signalling events in plants, ranging from strategies for the targeted manipulation of plant genomes up to the spatiotemporally resolved control of gene expression using optogenetic approaches. We also describe strategies based on the partial reconstruction of signalling pathways in orthogonal platforms, like yeast, animal and in vitro systems. This allows a targeted analysis of individual signalling hubs devoid of inter-connectivity with endogenous interacting components. Implementation of the interdisciplinary synthetic biology tools and strategies is not exempt of challenges and hardships but simultaneously most rewarding in terms of the advances in basic and applied research. As witnessed in other areas, these original theoretical-experimental avenues will lead to a breakthrough in the ability to study and comprehend plant signalling networks. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-138
Number of pages21
JournalThe Plant Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We are indebted to Prof. Nestor Carrillo, Sophia L. Samodelov, Rocio Ochoa-Fernandez and
Romina Sellaro for fruitful discussions and comments on the manuscript. We apologize to our
colleagues whose work could not be cited due to space constraints. This work was supported by
the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, EXC 1028) and the Heinrich-Heine-Universität
Düsseldorf, Germany.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Synthetic strategies for plant signalling studies: molecular toolbox and orthogonal platforms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this