Currently, the full details of even one stress-signaling pathway remain unclear. "And, although cross-signaling is clearly an important part of adaptive responses, it is unclear to what extent recognition and response pathways for the various abiotic stresses overlap in any one case," Pereira added.
"Our work should empower plant biologists to curate and archive signaling pathways for abiotic stress responses in the Beacon database," Heath explained. Beacon refers to a new systems biology tool that allows the plant biologist to construct and edit signaling pathways. With this information, a curator can integrate current and future data over multiple scales of a cell's organization and across species.
"This project builds upon the community-based, Beacon system to provide computational support for biologists' questions about signaling pathways, thereby empowering those plant biologists to curate and archive signaling pathways for abiotic stress responses in the Beacon database," Heath said. A workshop will be held in fall, 2012, when international experts on particular stresses, and particular plant signaling pathways, will come to Virginia Tech to be trained on the Beacon system.
Their work should allow the computational and statistical means to assess if the activity of one molecule causes a response in a second molecule. Innovative components of the Beacon system allow the possibility of simulating particular environmental conditions in order to identify potential new connections in these networks.
|Contact: Lynn Nystrom|