Characterization of NO signaling in plant hypersensitive cell death defense mechanism and establishment of novel NO-donors for plants.

Starting date
January 1, 2012
Duration (months)
Managers or local contacts
Bellin Diana

Hypersensitive response (HR) is an immediate and efficient resistance mechanism which induce the formation of necrotic lesions at the infection site, this way limiting the pathogen infection and spread. The cell death HR is modulated by the signaling molecule nitric oxide (NO), but the signaling pathways regulating this event are still largely unknown. A better understanding of natural plant resistance mechanisms is desirable for allowing the development of sustainable agriculture. Therefore, with this project, and in collaboration with the industrial partner Noxamet s.r.l. producing NO donor molecules and therefore also interested in clarifying NO signaling in plants to identify possible novel market sectors, we aim at clarifying the NO mediated HR cell death process, either providing a deeper understanding of signaling pathway already known as involved, or allowing the identification of novel signaling pathway mediating this process. To this aim, we will exploit innovative genetic material developed in our laboratory using a two steps screening strategy. An extensive characterization of this genetic material will allow us to focus on mutants specifically affected in NO downstream signaling pathways in the HR. Integrating knowledge about NO signaling and HR cell death processes available from previous studies with new knowledge derived by genome wide expression studies with these mutants, we will enquire and characterize signaling pathway mediating this process. Finally, together with Noxamet s.r.l., and taking advantage of our expertise on plant molecular answers to NO, we will also work at an applied industrial research objective, optimizing chemical features of novel NO donor molecules, based on metal complexes, to be used in plants in different physiological contests.

MAIN PARTNER: Noxamet s.r.l.


Funds: assigned and managed by the department

Project participants

Diana Bellin
Associate Professor


Research facilities